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

A paving crew recently laid fresh asphalt in parking areas at the former Hamilton West Shopping Center, signaling new things to happen there. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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A paving crew recently laid fresh asphalt in parking areas at the former Hamilton West Shopping Center, signaling new things to happen there. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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


Man sentenced for vandalism to Hamilton store that included leg of Jack Daniel statue

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This statue was damage in an alleged property damage incident on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.

This statue was damage in an alleged property damage incident on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.
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This statue was damage in an alleged property damage incident on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.

A Hamilton man was sentenced to a jail term Monday in Butler County Common Pleas Court for an act of vandalism that destroyed a statue of Jack Daniel and hundreds of bottles of alcohol at a Main Street business.

Jacob Shane Wright, 26, of the 2000 block of Princeton Road, was indicted in October on three counts of vandalism, obstructing official business, resisting arrest and attempted petty theft. He pleaded guilty to two counts of vandalism, one a fifth-degree felony and the other a fourth-degree felony, in November. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Judge Michael Oster sentenced Wright to 170 days in jail, with credit for 121 served, placed him on five years community control and ordered that he participate in the county’s Substance Abuse Mental Health court, stay away from the defendants and the store and make $2,000 in restitution.

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Arson charges against man who allegedly started fire with wife, her children in home sent to a grand jury

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Maston Murphy, of Middletown, was charged with six counts of felony arson and the case was bound over to a Butler County grand jury. MIDDLETOWN CITY JAIL

Maston Murphy, of Middletown, was charged with six counts of felony arson and the case was bound over to a Butler County grand jury. MIDDLETOWN CITY JAIL
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Maston Murphy, of Middletown, was charged with six counts of felony arson and the case was bound over to a Butler County grand jury. MIDDLETOWN CITY JAIL

Felony arson charges against a Middletown man who allegedly started a fire that spread to a house with his wife and her two children inside were sent to a Butler County grand jury this week, according to court documents.

Maston Murphy, 36, was charged with four counts of aggravated arson, first-degree felonies, and two counts of arson, second-degree felonies, according to Middletown Municipal Court records. Judge James Sherron sent the case to a Butler County grand jury following Murphy’s preliminary hearing on Monday afternoon.

His cash, surety or property bond had been set at $430,000, according to court documents.

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WWII veteran who enlisted at 16 and later served Butler County communities dies at 94

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Jack W. Snyder, of Fairfield, a World War II veteran who enlisted in the Navy when he was 16, died Dec. 24. He was 94. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Jack W. Snyder, of Fairfield, a World War II veteran who enlisted in the Navy when he was 16, died Dec. 24. He was 94. SUBMITTED PHOTO
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Jack W. Snyder, of Fairfield, a World War II veteran who enlisted in the Navy when he was 16, died Dec. 24. He was 94. SUBMITTED PHOTO

A World War II veteran is being remembered for his service to his country and his lifetime commitment to his community.

Jack W. Snyder, who enlisted in the Navy when he was 16, died Dec. 24 at The Waterford in Fairfield. He was 94.

Snyder’s father signed for him to enlist in the Navy at the height of World War II, according to his daughter, Jennifer Barlow.

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Hamilton picks streets for 2021 paving with levy money: Is yours on the list?

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A Middletown street crew work on paving a local street. Voters will consider a 10-year, 0.25% increase in the city income tax for a bond issue to do more than $31 million in street improvements to be done in 2021 and 2022. CONTRIBUTED/CITY OF MIDDLETOWN

A Middletown street crew work on paving a local street. Voters will consider a 10-year, 0.25% increase in the city income tax for a bond issue to do more than $31 million in street improvements to be done in 2021 and 2022. CONTRIBUTED/CITY OF MIDDLETOWN
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A Middletown street crew work on paving a local street. Voters will consider a 10-year, 0.25% increase in the city income tax for a bond issue to do more than $31 million in street improvements to be done in 2021 and 2022. CONTRIBUTED/CITY OF MIDDLETOWN

The city will pave 31 streets in 2021 using street-repair levy funds, although work on one or more of those streets may extend into 2022 because they will wait until work on sewers or other utilities is finished.

Officials said that by the time that first batch of streets is finished, they will have worked on all or parts of five of the roadways that residents ranked in the Top 10 of streets they most wanted to see paved.

Those streets include top vote-getter Grand Boulevard, which was mostly completed in 2020 without use of levy funds. Some parking lanes have not been paved along Grand, but those are awaiting completion of a roundabout in the area first. The second-highest vote-getter, Tylersville Road, will be paved this year from Hamilton Enterprise Park to Gateway, as will third-place Sanders Drive.

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Officials: Natural gas to blame for Middletown explosion, house fire that sent occupant to hospital

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Crews responded to a report of an explosion at a house in the 2500 block of Flemming Road in Middletown on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Crews responded to a report of an explosion at a house in the 2500 block of Flemming Road in Middletown on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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Crews responded to a report of an explosion at a house in the 2500 block of Flemming Road in Middletown on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Natural gas that may have been accidentally turned on by the homeowner is to blame for a house fire and explosion that sent a Middletown man to the hospital with serious injuries.

Middletown fire officials said there was an accumulation of natural gas in a home in the 2500 block of Flemming Road Monday afternoon when the back of the residence exploded and caught fire.

Jerry Gillespie, who was home at the time, was listed in serious condition Tuesday night at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton where he was transferred after being transported to Atrium Medical Center in Middletown.

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

‘It made me more confident’: New Hamilton minority internship program changing lives

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Lucina Rangel recently participated in Hamilton's CHIPs program and says it made her more confident in applying for future jobs, and taught her other life skills. PROVIDED

Lucina Rangel recently participated in Hamilton's CHIPs program and says it made her more confident in applying for future jobs, and taught her other life skills. PROVIDED
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Lucina Rangel recently participated in Hamilton's CHIPs program and says it made her more confident in applying for future jobs, and taught her other life skills. PROVIDED

An internship program that started in October already has improved employment prospects for 23-year-old Lucina Rangel of Hamilton.

“If I would have never gone through the program, I feel like it wouldn’t have been as bright,” Rangel said of her future, thanks to CHIPs (Citywide Hamilton Internship Program).

“I always felt like there was something that I could do, but I could never figure out how to get myself there. You feel like you’re not living up to your potential, but don’t know how to get there.”

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