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

Light Up Middletown drive-thru holiday light display is open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Light Up Middletown drive-thru holiday light display is open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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


Sheriff: Butler County on the ‘naughty list’ prohibited from sending inmates to state prisons

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones photographed on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones photographed on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

The Butler County Jail is one of several in the state banned from transporting inmates to state prisons after multiple positive coronavirus tests, but the sheriff says that is hurting the jail operations.

Butler County Sheriff Richards Jones says he believes the testing system is flawed, and the inability to transfer those sentenced to prison to those state facilities is affecting space at the county jail for local prisoners.

“We call it being on the naughty list,” Jones said of facilities unable to transfer inmates to the state prison system.

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Land of Illusion rezoning decision pending after county public hearing

Land of Illusion Adventure Park on Thomas Road in Madison Township has Aqua Adventures park in summer months, Haunted Scream Park in the fall and a Christmas Glow in the winter. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Land of Illusion Adventure Park on Thomas Road in Madison Township has Aqua Adventures park in summer months, Haunted Scream Park in the fall and a Christmas Glow in the winter. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

The two sides on the Land of Illusion rezoning debate will have to wait a bit longer to find out if the county will give preliminary approval for a major expansion of the attraction in Madison Twp.

The commissioners met Monday to hear reasons for and against rezoning 206 acres across eight parcels off Thomas Road to a Business Planned Unit Development from the current agriculture, residential and general business classifications. Owner Brett Oakley wants to make Land of Illusion a year-round facility with additional family activities, camping sites and a hotel. He says the multi-phased project will be a $190 million investment in the county’s economy.

“This is a great park. I built this place not to make money, I built this place for passion,” Oakley said during the hearing, “I’ve been around Land of Illusion since 1997, I have personally never taken one penny, one wage out of Land of Illusions, I’ve done nothing but put money into it. I think that’s a good citizen and the kind of partner Butler County wants.”

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Police: Middletown man says he was shot while sleeping in apartment

Middletown police and medics were called to the Trinity Place apartments in downtown Middletown about noon on Monday for a reported gunshot victim. Police are continuing its investigation. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Middletown police and medics were called to the Trinity Place apartments in downtown Middletown about noon on Monday for a reported gunshot victim. Police are continuing its investigation. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Middletown police are investigating a shooting at a downtown apartment complex Tuesday afternoon.

Maj. Scott Reeve said police and other first responders were called about noon Tuesday to the Trinity Place Apartments on Columbia Avenue on a report of a man who had been shot.

Reeve said Sean Delano Reynolds, 29, told investigators that he had “woken up and was surprised to find he had been shot while he was sleeping.”

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‘Obviously, I am disappointed’: Butler County officials react to school voucher program changes

Fairfield Superintendent Billy Smith addresses members of the community and district staff during a rally held at the high school Performing Arts Center, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. Because of the construction of several new buildings, the start of the school year will be Tuesday, Sept. 5. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
Fairfield Superintendent Billy Smith addresses members of the community and district staff during a rally held at the high school Performing Arts Center, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. Because of the construction of several new buildings, the start of the school year will be Tuesday, Sept. 5. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Recent actions to create an expanded EdChoice private school voucher law in Ohio has left area public school leaders surprised and disappointed.

The new law, which was passed quickly by both the Ohio House and Senate last week, was done so without proper opportunities for public school officials to speak on what they say are the many financial disadvantages for Ohio’s school districts, local school leaders said.

Many supporters of public district schools say taxpayer money shouldn’t go to private schools. They argue that Ohio’s existing voucher funding system disproportionately hurts low-income public schools, making them less able to effectively serve the students who remain.

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Santa and Mrs. Claus change holiday traditions in Butler County: What they’ll do

Mr. and Mrs. Claus wave atop a fire truck during the City of Hamilton's annual Santa Parade Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, in downtown Hamilton.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus wave atop a fire truck during the City of Hamilton's annual Santa Parade Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, in downtown Hamilton.

Credit: Staff photo by Nick Daggy

Credit: Staff photo by Nick Daggy

Multiple Butler County cities are adjust plans to help families have visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

In Fairfield, children will still have a chance to write Santa a letter, visit a drive-thru Santa Village and hear from him and Mrs. Claus during Virtual Bedtime Stories with Santa. Middletown, meanwhile, is sending Santa and Mrs. Claus on trips through city neighborhoods with the help of the fire department in the next two weeks.

“Virtual Bedtime Stories with Santa is a spin-off from our regular Bedtime Stories with Santa. In a normal year, we would have children come and sit with Santa, and Santa would read books to them. They could sit on his lap, ask questions, or share what’s on their wish list for Christmas. This year, however, Santa will be streaming live on the Parks’ Facebook page,” said Brittany Theilman, community events coordinator for the City of Fairfield.

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

PHOTOS: Light Up Middletown drive-thru holiday light display at Smith Park

Light Up Middletown drive-thru holiday light display is open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Light Up Middletown drive-thru holiday light display is open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Light Up Middletown drive-thru holiday light display is open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly at Smith Park in Middletown.

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