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

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

Gunfire in Fairfield Twp. injures one, multiple residences hit

A man was injured and multiple residences were struck by gunfire early this morning in Fairfield Twp.

Police were called to the 7700 block of Wildbranch Road at 12:26 a.m. on a report of multiple gunshots heard. Officers found multiple residences in Tyler’s Creek Townhouse struck by bullets, according to Fairfield Twp. Police.

A short time later, an area hospital notified officers that a gunshot victim showed up at the hospital seeking treatment. The victim, a 24-year-old man, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and is believed to be the intended target, according to police. No other victims or injuries were reported.


Hamilton looks to again expand outdoor drinking district: What that would mean

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Hamilton is considering expanding its Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, where people can sip alcoholic beverages as they stroll around various parts of the city.

Officials also are considering increasing the hours when the DORA can operate as early as 9 a.m. so businesses wanting to offer brunch-to-go can sell alcohol-to-go. DORA sales at special events also are being considered.

As long as people buy from participating bars and restaurants that use official DORA cups, they can buy alcoholic beverages “to go” from noon to midnight. They must stay within boundaries of the district’s 250-plus acres, where there now are 22 participating establishments. Last year, Hamilton businesses sold 55,000 DORA cups,” according to the city.


Renovated 131-year-old Sorg Opera House continues revitalization: 17 more shows planned this year

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Once considered another empty historic building in downtown Middletown, the Sorg Opera House has been rejuvenated, survived the coronavirus pandemic and is flourishing, said Nancy Griffith, board president of the Sorg Opera Revitalization Group (SORG).

Five years ago, the Sorg was named to the 2016 list of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites, a designation the non-profit organization SORG hoped would help raise money for the building’s rebirth.

Since then, the opera house, constructed in 1890 and designed by architect Samuel Hannaford, who also designed the nearby Sorg Mansion, has experienced major renovations.


Lebanon City Schools opt to end mask mandate in one week

LEBANON, Ohio — The Lebanon City Schools board voted Monday night to end its temporary mask mandate next Monday and return to an optional masking policy.

The district is currently two weeks into the three-week mandate that was implemented in late August when more than 900 students were involved in quarantine.

Two weeks ago, when the district implemented the mask mandate, the district had more than 430 students in quarantine. The week after mandatory masking went into effect, that number dropped to 50.


Butler County governments ask county for additional ARP funding

Every Butler County governmental entity received a slice of federal American Rescue Plan funding, but some are looking for more money from the county commissioners to fund projects.

A total of $155.6 million is flowing to the county, cities, townships and villages, but 10 jurisdictions have also asked for $60.3 million of the commissioners’ $74.5 million. The commissioners invited other governments and groups to pitch ideas that will have a long-term positive impact on the county. They received 34 requests totaling about $130 million.

Commissioner Cindy Carpenter said she doesn’t believe the commissioners should preclude the requests from other governments because they also received funding.


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

Middletown City Council candidate forum set for Thursday

Candidates for Middletown City Council will address questions this week in one of the area’s first political forums for November’s general election.

Five people are seeking one of two open seats for Middletown City Council, and only one incumbent is seeking reelection. The Middletown chapter of the NAACP is hosting the forum from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Robert “Sonny” Hill Jr. Community Center, 800 Lafayette Ave.

Celeste Davis, president of the Middletown NAACP, said this is an important race for the city as “there are five candidates running ... for only two seats.”