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:

Couple that drove Hamilton street levy passage named city Citizens of the Year

Jack and Karen Whalen were driving forces behind passage of Hamilton’s street-repair levy in May.

That and their involvement in many other community-improving causes led them to be named the Hamilton Citizens of the Year for 2020.

When Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dan Bates called them about the citizen of the year award, they thought it was to tell them the winner was the person they had suggested for the honor.


Cash, drugs recovered during bust in Hamilton and Middletown

Pounds of marijuana, cash and guns were seized Monday by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office narcotics taskforce when houses in Hamilton and Middletown were searched.

Search warrants were executed by the Butler County Undercover Regional Narcotics Taskforce (BURN) at residences in the 700 block of Gordon Smith Boulevard in Hamilton and the 1700 block of Yankee Road in Middletown, where approximately 40 pounds of marijuana, more than $42,000 in cash and four guns and high capacity drum magazines were found..

A traffic stop related to the search warrants was also conducted and Christopher Grebe, 30, of Hamilton, was arrested and charged with trafficking in Drugs and possession of drugs, both third-degree felonies.


New Miami speed camera case heading to Ohio Supreme Court again

The New Miami speed camera case has been dragging on for seven years, but it is nearing the end at the Ohio Supreme Court.

A group of about 33,000 speeders took the tiny village to court in 2013 over what they said was an unconstitutional, unmanned speed camera program. They claimed the Automated Speed Enforcement Program (ASEP) violated their due process rights because an administrative hearing rather than court proceeding was used. The speeders demanded the village refund around $3 million collected on the $95 tickets. Accumulated interest was tallied at more than $400,000..


Butler County commissioners award nearly $350K in raises

The Butler County commissioners awarded merit raises for the 137 non-union employees under their control, noting the budget can handle the nearly $342,000 in raises and lump sum payments.

The commissioners for several years have operated with a two-part performance pay formula that calls for pay hikes in the 1 to 3 percent range added to an employee’s base pay and another 1 to 3 percent available in quarterly lump sum payments. The cost for the percentage increases is $127,004, and lump sums will cost $214,649.

“This demonstrates a lower expense than if across the board 2% increases were granted to every employee,” she told the commissioners last week.


Man arrested for June fatal shooting in Hamilton

A suspect has been charged in the shooting death of a Hamilton man in June, according to Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit.

Cameron Treitay Kidd Wilson, 21, of Harrison, was taken into custody Friday at his Hamilton County residence and charged with murder and felonious assault for the slaying of Darrian K. Shamel on June 2.

Wilson was booked into the Butler County Jail on Friday evening. According to court records, Wilson was indicted last month by a grand jury and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Butler County Common Pleas Court.


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

Fairfield Twp. woman to get new kidney from Pittsburgh donor

More than a year after Aaron Thorn started asking people for a kidney for his wife with a sandwich board outside of Bridgewater Falls, Keli Thorn is set to get a kidney next month.

But the donor isn’t anyone who saw Aaron’s red and white sign outside the Fairfield Twp. mall saying “Need Kidney 4 My Wife.” It was a Pittsburgh woman, Cheynne Frappier, who felt compelled to get involved after seeing their story. It gained national attention after local stories, like the one in the Journal-News in January, circulating on social media platforms.

“It’s been a long ride,” said Aaron, “a long ride.”