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

The city of Hamilton is preparing to buy the VIP Video building, and the store will move back to Millville next week. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF
The city of Hamilton is preparing to buy the VIP Video building, and the store will move back to Millville next week. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF

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


Middletown mayor injured in skydiving incident; credited for quick actions that saved two lives

Nicole Condrey, Mayor of Middletown, Dec. 10, 2020. Condrey was elected in 2019 as Middletown’s first woman mayor. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Nicole Condrey, Mayor of Middletown, Dec. 10, 2020. Condrey was elected in 2019 as Middletown’s first woman mayor. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The quick actions of the Middletown mayor are being credited for saving two lives: hers and her teammate’s.

John Hart, owner of Team Fastrax, a professional skydiving team based in Middletown, said during training exercises Wednesday night at Hook Field in Middletown, he and Mayor Nicole Condrey were connected with straps as they were carrying a large American flag.

But there was an equipment malfunction and Hart was unable to release the strap as the two skydivers neared the ground. That’s when Condrey, a veteran of 2,300 jumps and a member of Team Fastrax, implemented the “emergency procedure” and released the secondary strap when they were about 100 feet off the ground.

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Hamilton buying porn video store on Main Street, which will close that location this month

The city of Hamilton is preparing to buy the VIP Video building, and the store will move back to Millville next week. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF
The city of Hamilton is preparing to buy the VIP Video building, and the store will move back to Millville next week. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF

Hamilton is preparing to buy the building at 402 Main St., which now houses the VIP Video adult video business, for $190,000, and a top city official was pleased to announce the business would shut down its Hamilton location within the month. The store’s location in Millville will open back up.

The city is proposing to buy the properties at 402-404 Main from Thomas Wilson, who bought it in February from Peter Tomaino, the owner of VIP Video, for $160,000.

“Normally I would not stand at this podium and tell you I’m excited about a local business closing down, but tonight, due to the proposed purchase of 402 Main St. ... it is my understanding this establishment is closing at the end of the month, due to this pending purchase,” said Tom Vanderhorst, the city’s executive director of external services.

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Prosecutor: Some charges dismissed for legal reasons after Hamilton crash that killed 6-year-old

Elizabeth Mehl BUTLER COUNTY JAIL
Elizabeth Mehl BUTLER COUNTY JAIL

A Hamilton woman who was allegedly driving a car that struck two young boys and killed one of them in Hamilton this week is free on bond, and several initial charges have been dismissed at the request of the county prosecutor.

The charges were not dismissed because of evidence issues, according to prosecutors, but because of the continuing investigation that could end with more charges and to avoid the possibility of double jeopardy.

Nolen Scott Jones, 6, of Hamilton, died of head injuries sustained when he was struck by a car while crossing Pleasant Avenue about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. His 11-year-old brother, Logan Watson, was injured and is now home recovering.

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Documents reveal uproar over Lakota East graduation gowns decision

Yejide Mack has been placed on a paid leave of absence from her principal's position with Lakota East High School, according to officials with the Lakota school system. Mack, who was previously an assistant principal at Sycamore High School in northern Hamilton County, was hired last year to lead the Liberty Twp school. (File Photo\Journal-News)
Yejide Mack has been placed on a paid leave of absence from her principal's position with Lakota East High School, according to officials with the Lakota school system. Mack, who was previously an assistant principal at Sycamore High School in northern Hamilton County, was hired last year to lead the Liberty Twp school. (File Photo\Journal-News)

The Lakota East High School principal recently ordered on leave moved to change the school’s gender-specific graduation gown colors to all black, a decision for which the district later apologized, according to documents obtained by the Journal-News.

Traditionally, Lakota East’s commencement gowns have been black for boys and white for girls, using the school’s colors.

But first-year Principal Yejide Mack, who was placed on paid leave earlier this month, decided all of Lakota East’s more than 600 graduates would wear black.

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More firefighters coming to Fairfield to help staffing woes

Ten of the 12 apartment units were occupied in the early morning hours of Aug. 25, 2020, when emergency crews were dispatched to 1605 W. Augusta Boulevard in Fairfield. No one was injured in the fire. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Ten of the 12 apartment units were occupied in the early morning hours of Aug. 25, 2020, when emergency crews were dispatched to 1605 W. Augusta Boulevard in Fairfield. No one was injured in the fire. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The Fairfield Fire Department on May 25 can make full-time offers to three potential firefighter/paramedic candidates.

It’s a prelude to a possible fire levy coming in as early as 2022, though city leaders cannot say yet if it would be a renewal or replacement of, or some other change to, the 2.5-mill levy passed by voters in 2016, or a new to-be-determined levy.

More revenues are needed, or the department will need supplemental funding from the city’s general fund beginning as early as 2023.

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

Kings Island opening day coming Saturday: What to know about the park in 2021

Bob Ross plushes take a test ride on Kings Island's giga coaster, Orion. Photo courtesy Kings Island.
Bob Ross plushes take a test ride on Kings Island's giga coaster, Orion. Photo courtesy Kings Island.

After a shortened season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kings Island is ready for visitors to return to the park.

“At Kings Island, there are not many things each year that are more exciting than opening our gates for the first time and welcoming our guests and passholders into the park,” said Chad Showalter, Kings Island communications director. “Families from near and far are looking forward to their first rides on Orion and their first blue ice cream cone of the season. For some, they’ve been waiting far too long for that.”

Last weekend’s season passholders preview underlined Showalter’s thought of the pent up demand to return to the park as the parking lot was nearly full last Saturday. Showalter said the park doesn’t release attendance numbers except in company earnings reports, but said “the park was very popular last weekend.”

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