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

A fire on Nov. 5 destroyed this mobile home in the 4100 block of Jewell Avenue in Middletown. The lone occupant escaped uninjured, according to the fire report. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

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A fire on Nov. 5 destroyed this mobile home in the 4100 block of Jewell Avenue in Middletown. The lone occupant escaped uninjured, according to the fire report. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Here is a look at five big Butler County stories today to catch up on the news.


Middletown residence destroyed; owner says propane tank ‘blew up’

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A fire on Nov. 5 destroyed this mobile home in the 4100 block of Jewell Avenue in Middletown. The lone occupant escaped uninjured, according to the fire report. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

A fire on Nov. 5 destroyed this mobile home in the 4100 block of Jewell Avenue in Middletown. The lone occupant escaped uninjured, according to the fire report. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

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A fire on Nov. 5 destroyed this mobile home in the 4100 block of Jewell Avenue in Middletown. The lone occupant escaped uninjured, according to the fire report. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

A man who lives in a mobile home in the 4100 block of Jewell Avenue told Middletown firefighters he was changing a propane tank on his heater when it “blew up” and caught the trailer on fire.

Middletown firefighters were dispatched at 10:10 a.m. Nov. 5 for a mobile home fire after receiving multiple calls to dispatch. Firefighters said they saw a column of smoke from some distance while responding.

Doyle Meadows, who is sight-impaired, was the only occupant and he escaped the fire uninjured, according to the fire report.

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No mandatory vaccines for students and staff, Hamilton school board declares

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The governing board of the 10,000-student Hamilton Schools announced during its Thursday meeting it "has no interest in mandating Covid-19 vaccination for students or staff." Board President Laurin Sprague (center) did add, however, if ordered by governmental entities outside the district, the schools may have to adopt such a mandate. (Photo By Michael D. Clark\Journal-News)

The governing board of the 10,000-student Hamilton Schools announced during its Thursday meeting it "has no interest in mandating Covid-19 vaccination for students or staff." Board President Laurin Sprague (center) did add, however, if ordered by governmental entities outside the district, the schools may have to adopt such a mandate. (Photo By Michael D. Clark\Journal-News)

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The governing board of the 10,000-student Hamilton Schools announced during its Thursday meeting it "has no interest in mandating Covid-19 vaccination for students or staff." Board President Laurin Sprague (center) did add, however, if ordered by governmental entities outside the district, the schools may have to adopt such a mandate. (Photo By Michael D. Clark\Journal-News)

HAMILTON — While some area schools have been publicly quiet as to their stance of possibly asking students to take the coronavirus vaccine now available to younger children, Hamilton’s school board this week publicly declared they will not mandate the injections.

Nor will they require their teachers to be vaccinated, unless ordered to do so by governmental powers outside the city schools.

Hamilton Board of Education President Laurin Sprague started Thursday evening’s meeting by reading a statement he said reflected the stance of the entire board overseeing the 10,000-student city schools.

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Beloved Fairfield High School teacher dies

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Fairfield Schools officials today announced the death of chemistry teacher Bryan Walters, who passed Wednesday during a planned surgery. A Fairfield teacher since 2017, Walters was beloved by students and fellow staffers, said school officials. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

Fairfield Schools officials today announced the death of chemistry teacher Bryan Walters, who passed Wednesday during a planned surgery. 	A Fairfield teacher since 2017, Walters was beloved by students and fellow staffers, said school officials. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

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Fairfield Schools officials today announced the death of chemistry teacher Bryan Walters, who passed Wednesday during a planned surgery. A Fairfield teacher since 2017, Walters was beloved by students and fellow staffers, said school officials. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

For the second time this week, a Butler County school teacher has died.

Fairfield Schools officials on Friday announced the death of high school chemistry teacher Bryan Walters, who passed Wednesday during a planned surgery.

A Fairfield teacher since 2017, the 50-year-old Walters was beloved by students and fellow staffers, said school officials.

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Hamilton apartment residents seek city’s help with building concerns

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Paul Trinka, a resident in Dr. Henry A. Long Tower on S. B Street in Hamilton, expressed his concerns at a city council meeting about living conditions in his apartment building. He shows off what he says is black mold on the ceilings and around the heating vents in his apartment and apartments of several other residents. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Paul Trinka, a resident in Dr. Henry A. Long Tower on S. B Street in Hamilton, expressed his concerns at a city council meeting about living conditions in his apartment building. He shows off what he says is black mold on the ceilings and  around the heating vents in his apartment and apartments of several other residents. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Paul Trinka, a resident in Dr. Henry A. Long Tower on S. B Street in Hamilton, expressed his concerns at a city council meeting about living conditions in his apartment building. He shows off what he says is black mold on the ceilings and around the heating vents in his apartment and apartments of several other residents. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Black mold at Henry Long Tower is a problem, and more than a dozen people have gone to the emergency room in recent weeks with respiratory problems, resident Paul Trinka told Hamilton City Council on Wednesday. The Butler Metropolitan Housing Authority building at 150 S. B St. also has problems with cockroaches and bed bugs, he and others said.

Another problem: The 128-apartment building was without heat at least a couple straight days recently, and one resident’s brother believes that led to a severe cough she had, along with other health issues, that sent her to Fort Hamilton Hospital. Her doctor does not want her to return to the tower because of that and other health issues, Ken Gillum, brother of resident Sue Woodlee, told the Journal-News.

“The building has major black mold in the apartments,” Trinka told city officials Wednesday. “It’s coming in from the furnaces and air-conditioning units. It’s on the walls, the ceilings and everything.”

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$1.5 million to be used to fight blight in Butler County

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Kahmi Pryor, 13, and his younger brother Kalani, 3, watch as demolition crews tear down a house at 335 Hanover Street, Friday, July 15, 2016. The state and federal governments have just awarded Butler county an additional $1.7 million in Hardest Hit funds to continue purging dilapidated properties. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Kahmi Pryor, 13, and his younger brother Kalani, 3, watch as demolition crews tear down a house at 335 Hanover Street, Friday, July 15, 2016. The state and federal governments have just awarded Butler county an additional $1.7 million in Hardest Hit funds to continue purging dilapidated properties. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

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Kahmi Pryor, 13, and his younger brother Kalani, 3, watch as demolition crews tear down a house at 335 Hanover Street, Friday, July 15, 2016. The state and federal governments have just awarded Butler county an additional $1.7 million in Hardest Hit funds to continue purging dilapidated properties. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

There is a $1.5 million pot of blight busting money coming to Butler County and while land banks around the state are lining up, officials here say not many jurisdictions have expressed interest yet.

When the state biennial budget passed, it allocated $150 million for commercial and residential demolitions and $350 million for brownfield remediation. Each of the 88 counties will automatically receive $500,000 for demolition and $1 million for brownfield remediation, which is the removal of hazardous materials left when industrial, or even commercial such as dry cleaners blight is downed.

The remaining $106 million in demolition and $262 million for brownfields will be disbursed “first come, first served.” Jim Rokakis of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy told the Journal-News the state is still working on guidelines for the money and those rules should be complete by later this month or early December.

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

Fairfield’s dispatch center will have all full-time personnel in 2022

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Fairfield is looking to replace its computer-aided dispatch records management system which is approaching 20 years old. The department is expected to make the purchase in 2021. The FBI is requiring agencies to report data to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which Fairfield’s system currently cannot do. NICK GRAHAM/FILE

Fairfield is looking to replace its computer-aided dispatch records management system which is approaching 20 years old. The department is expected to make the purchase in 2021. The FBI is requiring agencies to report data to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which Fairfield’s system currently cannot do. NICK GRAHAM/FILE

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Fairfield is looking to replace its computer-aided dispatch records management system which is approaching 20 years old. The department is expected to make the purchase in 2021. The FBI is requiring agencies to report data to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which Fairfield’s system currently cannot do. NICK GRAHAM/FILE

Fairfield will consider beefing up the city’s police department 2022 budget by nearly 10% over this year’s budget.

The police department is requesting a $14.8 million budget for next year, an increase of $1.3 million from this year’s budget, which would allow the department to fill all 65 of its uniformed police officer positions. After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a divided City Council denied the department in 2020 to hire its full strength of officers amid COVID-related budget concerns. Council did increase the department’s authorized strength from 63 to 65 earlier this year.

Though hiring two new police officers is a big part of the budget, the biggest piece of the 2022 request is converting six part-time dispatch positions into six full-time dispatch positions, as well as reinstating an account clerk, a part-time park ranger, and a part-time animal control officer.

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