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

High Street was closed down and lined with vendors, food trucks, rides, games, pumpkins and more for visitors to enjoy Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Operation Pumpkin in downtown Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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High Street was closed down and lined with vendors, food trucks, rides, games, pumpkins and more for visitors to enjoy Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Operation Pumpkin in downtown Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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


Hamilton’s Cunningham sisters take their music ministry nationwide on ‘The Voice’

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The Cunningham sisters, Macie, 15, left, and Marie, 13, have been singing on social media trying to spread a positive message and recently sent an audition video to the television show The Voice. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

The Cunningham sisters, Macie, 15, left, and Marie, 13, have been singing on social media trying to spread a positive message and recently sent an audition video to the television show The Voice. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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The Cunningham sisters, Macie, 15, left, and Marie, 13, have been singing on social media trying to spread a positive message and recently sent an audition video to the television show The Voice. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

It was a surprise to many that Hamilton’s Cunningham sisters didn’t choose fellow Ohioan and Springfield native John Legend to be their coach on “The Voice” singing competition on NBC. It even surprised Marie and Macie Cunningham themselves a bit.

“In the moment, I even thought we were about to choose John,” Marie said in an interview with the Journal-News.

“So did I,” said Macie.

“But then it was like — but then we looked at each other and we just both said, ‘Kelly’ (Clarkson),” Marie said.

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All five Middletown council candidates talk about improving their hometown

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Rick Pearce, CEO and president of the Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton, welcomes those who attended a candidate forum for those running for Middletown City Council. Candidates are, from left, ??, Zachary Ferrell, ???, Joe Mulligan and Rodney Muterspaw. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Rick Pearce, CEO and president of the Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton, welcomes those who attended a candidate forum for those running for Middletown City Council. Candidates are, from left, ??, Zachary Ferrell, ???, Joe Mulligan and Rodney Muterspaw. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

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Rick Pearce, CEO and president of the Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton, welcomes those who attended a candidate forum for those running for Middletown City Council. Candidates are, from left, ??, Zachary Ferrell, ???, Joe Mulligan and Rodney Muterspaw. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Regardless of who wins the two seats on Middletown City Council next month, voters will elect longtime Middletown residents.

All five candidates talked about their Middletown upbringings, childhoods sometimes filled with food stamps, sleepless nights and empty dinner plates Thursday night during a candidates forum hosted by the Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton.

Ami Vitori, who served one term on council, isn’t seeking re-election so she can concentrate on her downtown businesses and family, she said. The other three on the five-person council, Mayor Nicole Condrey, Tal Moon and Monica Nenni, are not up for re-election.

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Butler County history: Revolutionary War veteran, family laid to rest on what used to be their farm in Fairfield

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Ezekiel Walker, a Revolutionary War soldier, is buried just a few hundred feet from the Ohio 4 and Seward Road intersection in Fairfield. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Ezekiel Walker, a Revolutionary War soldier, is buried just a few hundred feet from the Ohio 4 and Seward Road intersection in Fairfield. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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Ezekiel Walker, a Revolutionary War soldier, is buried just a few hundred feet from the Ohio 4 and Seward Road intersection in Fairfield. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

It’s unlikely that most who drive through the Ohio 4 and Seward Road intersection know a Revolutionary War veteran is laid to rest a few hundred feet away.

More than two centuries ago, Abigail Walker was laid to rest on her family’s farm in what today is known as the Stockton Station area in Fairfield.

Her husband, Ezekiel Walker, a Revolutionary War soldier, was buried next to his wife in 1823. Their son, James Walker, was interred at this site in 1827, and then James’ wife, Sarah Swan Walker, in 1848.

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Second Warren County city considering sanctuary city for the unborn

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More than 150 people jammed into the Mason City Building's council chamber, overflow room and lobby on Monday to express their opinion about a proposed anti-abortion ordinance being reviewed by a Mason City Council committee that is similar to one adopted in May by Lebanon City Council. The ordinance has been discussed in committee but has not made it to the agenda for council consideration. ED RICHTER/STAFF

More than 150 people jammed into the Mason City Building's council chamber, overflow room and lobby on Monday to express their opinion about a proposed anti-abortion ordinance being reviewed by a Mason City Council committee that is similar to one adopted in May by Lebanon City Council. The ordinance has been discussed in committee but has not made it to the agenda for council consideration. ED RICHTER/STAFF

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More than 150 people jammed into the Mason City Building's council chamber, overflow room and lobby on Monday to express their opinion about a proposed anti-abortion ordinance being reviewed by a Mason City Council committee that is similar to one adopted in May by Lebanon City Council. The ordinance has been discussed in committee but has not made it to the agenda for council consideration. ED RICHTER/STAFF

A second Warren County city could be declared a sanctuary city for the unborn.

Mason City Council tonight will consider an ordinance that prohibits abortion clinics from opening and operating in the city of around 33,000 residents as well as penalize those who assist a woman seeking an abortion.

Mason’s proposed ordinance would mirror one adopted in late May by Lebanon City Council. There are 39 cities in Texas, Nebraska and Ohio that have made this declaration. Lebanon is the only city in Ohio.

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Butler County officials start honing $108.4 million general fund budget

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Butler County Commissioners (from left) T.C. Rogers, Cindy Carpenter and Don Dixon will resume round two of budget talks Monday, Oct. 16. STAFF FILE/2015

Butler County Commissioners (from left) T.C. Rogers, Cindy Carpenter and Don Dixon will resume round two of budget talks Monday, Oct. 16. STAFF FILE/2015

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Butler County Commissioners (from left) T.C. Rogers, Cindy Carpenter and Don Dixon will resume round two of budget talks Monday, Oct. 16. STAFF FILE/2015

The Butler County commissioners will hold the first round of budget hearings today with other elected officials and departments who submitted $108.4 million in requests, as they craft a spending plan for next year.

The county is estimating it will collect nearly $116 million in general fund revenues next year and the various office holders, departments and independent boards that are supported by that fund submitted expense budgets totaling $108.4 million. The amounts are a bit higher than the tax budget figures set in early summer.

Given the impacts of the pandemic have not been fully felt, the commissioners asked everyone to hold expenses to 2019 actual spending — prior to the crisis that prompted deep cuts — no one complied. Expenses in 2019 amounted to $100.4 million and $91.2 million last year.

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

PHOTOS: Operation Pumpkin held in Hamilton over the weekend

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High Street was closed down and lined with vendors, food trucks, rides, games, pumpkins and more for visitors to enjoy Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Operation Pumpkin in downtown Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

High Street was closed down and lined with vendors, food trucks, rides, games, pumpkins and more for visitors to enjoy Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Operation Pumpkin in downtown Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Combined ShapeCaption
High Street was closed down and lined with vendors, food trucks, rides, games, pumpkins and more for visitors to enjoy Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Operation Pumpkin in downtown Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

High Street was closed down and lined with vendors, food trucks, rides, games, pumpkins and more for visitors to enjoy Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at Operation Pumpkin in downtown Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

SEE ALL OF THE PHOTOS