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

Credit: Journal News

Mykiara Jones, 14, of Dayton, died after a drowning report at Land of Illusion's Aqua Adventures waterpark after she was flown to Dayton Children's Hospital.

Credit: Journal News

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


Sheriff’s office to investigate complaints about Land of Illusion water park after teen’s death

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
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 has been “inundated with complaints” toward the Land of Illusion Aqua Adventure Park since the death of a teen whose body was recovered Tuesday night after she was under water for 30 minutes.

Sheriff Richard Jones said there have been a wide range of complaints insinuating the Aqua Adventure Park has violated regulations, he said today in a release. He said the complaints allege the park does not have certified life guards, life vest rules are not enforced and no rescue equipment is readily available, among others.

Land of Illusion posted on its Facebook page this afternoon that the water park “is committed to providing a safe and fun recreation destination for our region. We prioritize guest safety and training for our team and diligently comply with all Ohio regulations governing the activities and offerings available at our Aqua Adventure Park.”

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Butler County Fair: King, queen join hundreds preparing for more normal fair next week

Connor Ogborn, 17, left, and Maya Kidd, 17, are the king and queen for the 2021 Butler County Fair. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Connor Ogborn, 17, left, and Maya Kidd, 17, are the king and queen for the 2021 Butler County Fair. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

With the COVID-19 pandemic altering the festivities of the Butler County Fair last year, the community is eager to enjoy all that the annual event has to offer for the 171st edition that starts on Sunday.

The fully scheduled fair follows last year’s event that had to change for COVID-19 precautions. Children who exhibited animals could only come in the day of their particular show and had to go back home. Only their immediate family could watch their judging.

There were only six food trailers at the 2020 event. Unlike prior fairs, nobody could stay overnight, and the only grandstand event was the demolition derby on the last day.

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Organizers hope jazz event draws more Black businesses to downtown Middletown

ajc.com

An initiative in Middletown hopes to create “a welcoming environment” in the downtown for the whole community, said one of the organizers.

Michelle Novak, a Middletown City School District board member and co-founder of People’s Initiative Network, said the group has scheduled a three-part jazz series in hopes of showcasing the city’s diversity and attracting more Black-owned and start-up businesses downtown.

She said the group was formed last year in the wake of George Floyd, a Black man, being killed while in Minneapolis police custody. The group plans to support social justice in education, health, criminal justice reform, political access and economic development, she said.

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Reactions: What Liberty Twp. officials and neighbors are saying about coming Costco, $133 million development

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

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

One of the region’s largest mixed-use developments has cleared a major hurdle after Liberty Twp. trustees approved preliminary plans for a $133 million project on 88 acres of prime real estate across Voice of America Metro Park.

The Freedom Pointe development, which will include a Costco, 402 apartments, restaurants, other retail, office and medical offices along with a hotel, now moves closer to reality, said township officials.

This week’s 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, marked major progress for the project.

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State approves entertainment district in Lebanon to boost downtown

These are the proposed boundaries for a Community Entertainment District that the city of Lebanon expects to submit sometime in June. It will allow additional D-5J liquor permits in the district to help attract new restaurants to the city. CONTRIBUTED/CITY OF LEBANON
These are the proposed boundaries for a Community Entertainment District that the city of Lebanon expects to submit sometime in June. It will allow additional D-5J liquor permits in the district to help attract new restaurants to the city. CONTRIBUTED/CITY OF LEBANON

The Ohio Division of Liquor Control has accepted and approved Lebanon’s application to establish a community entertainment district for its downtown area and recently expanded outdoor drinking area.

The entertainment district is part of Lebanon’s continued effort to support new investment within downtown and the surrounding community, city officials said.

Downtown Lebanon has a thriving business district that encompasses a collection of restaurants, retail, entertainment, educational, arts, sporting, social and cultural establishments. The entertainment district will allow 15 additional liquor permits for new restaurants within the district.

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

Butler County farmer, woodworker adjust to sell local at farmers markets: How they’re doing it

The West Chester Farmer's Market runs through October on Saturdays at The Square at Union Centre in West Chester Township with a variety of farm fresh vegetables, fresh made breads and snacks, soaps, jewelry, crafts, flowers and more. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
The West Chester Farmer's Market runs through October on Saturdays at The Square at Union Centre in West Chester Township with a variety of farm fresh vegetables, fresh made breads and snacks, soaps, jewelry, crafts, flowers and more. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Farmers markets, some of the key parts of the warm-weather times of year for buying local and meeting with neighbors, have mostly returned in Butler County this summer, to the delight of operators.

West Chester, Fairfield, and Oxford are among those back to holding regular markets where people can buy organic produce and homemade goods.

Jennifer Bayne, owner of 7 Wonder Farms, got her start by growing garden vegetables and raising animals in her backyard while simultaneously growing disenchanted with the food industry. As her backyard activities expanded, she knew she’d have to take to the next level, as in buying an actual farm, to continue.

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