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:

Butler County remains among top counties with high coronavirus spread

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Butler County continues to remain among the top Ohio counties with the highest occurrences of the novel coronavirus.

The state’s seventh-largest county has 199.9 per capita cases, or 766, over the past two weeks, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called the numbers among the top 20 counties “very alarming.”

The county remained Thursday at Level 3, or red level, of the state’s color-coded public health advisory system for the sixth straight week. The county is one of 18 red-level counties, which is the highest number of Level 3 counties since July 23. Nearly the entire state is either at Level 3 or Level 2, or orange level. There are 12 counties at the Level 1, or yellow level, which represents roughly 4 percent of the state.


Beloved veteran Hamilton teacher dies at 57 from coronavirus

Lori Rich, a Hamilton teacher, is being remembered for a loving heart for young children and abandoned animals.

The beloved, pre-kindergarten teacher at the city’s Colonial School, recently died after contracting the coronavirus. She was 57.

Rich was a Hamilton native and graduate of the city’s high school who had worked at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts before her 23-year career at Colonial.


Kings Island serving up some tricks and treats this fall



Disney World, specifically Epcot, has made a science out of having guests sip, savor and stroll their way through their parks.

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival has been something I’ve enjoyed several times over the years with flavorful dining experiences scattered across the park to enjoy in between attractions.

Up until now, our closest amusement park has stuck to the things it knows best — thrilling rides. With King’s Island’s Halloween Haunt canceled this year because of COVID-19, however, the park quickly switched gears moving to a “Tricks and Treats” festival that’s heavy on physical distancing, masks, rides and food experiences.


Hamilton pain clinic owner sentencing latest in region for pill mills, opioid abuse

The sentencing of a Hamilton pain clinic owner this week is the most recent case of area suspects going to prison for opioid trafficking offenses.

On Monday, Nilesh Jobalia, 55, of Cincinnati, the former owner and operator of a Hamilton pain clinic, was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison for illegally distributing controlled substances, committing health care fraud and violating the anti-kickback statute.

In addition to the prison term, Jobalia was also ordered to pay nearly $2.2 million in restitution to Medicaid, Medicare and the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.


Butler County court canceled after judge returns from coronavirus diagnosis

A Butler County Common Pleas Court docket was canceled this week after the judge returned to work following his recovery from the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Judge Charles Pater’s courtroom on the court wing’s fourth floor is usually busy with a full slate of cases to be called. But this week court was canceled.

Pater said he previously tested positive for the virus and had mild systems.


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

Photos: Operation Pumpkin changes in Hamilton with dozens of carved pumpkins

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Pumpkins are on display for Operation Pumpkin in downtown Hamilton. Crews from TAMZ construction and Operation Pumpkin officials set up the large carved pumpkins mostly along High and Main Streets. Some businesses have decorated their storefronts for the occasion.