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:

Anticipated HUB on Main now open as Hamilton’s Urban Backyard

In recent weeks, artificial turf was been laid down in the beer-garden style outdoor area, which is covered and enclosed during the winter. The HUB in its name stands for “Hamilton’s Urban Backyard.”

Aside from Dave Ernst, other owners are his wife Emily Ernst, and Jeff and Gina Bucalo, and they were motivated to create the bar in what was a run-down building by the opening later this year of the immense indoor sports complex called Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, in the former Champion Paper facility on North B Street.

HUB will be a family-friendly place where friends and teams can gather, play outdoor games such as cornhole and have fun around fire pits.


Butler County Sheriff’s Office corrections lieutenant dies

A Butler County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant has died following a brief illness.

Corrections Lt. David Reynolds, who had worked for the department since 2001, died Thursday after being hospitalized.

Reynolds, 58, began his career as a corrections officer and rose through the ranks, according to a sheriff’s office social media post.


Christian’s CornStand Jam will remember Butler County man this weekend with RiversEdge event

After Christian Unger died by suicide in 2019 at age 28, his family was devastated. But friends who were musicians approached them, wanting to do something in memory of the man known locally for selling farm-fresh corn from a stand in Hamilton since he was 12.

On Saturday, organizers will host the third annual Christian’s CornStand Jam from noon to 11 p.m. at the RiversEdge amphitheater in Hamilton’s Marcum Park.

The free event features five bands, and there will be food trucks, drinks, activities for kids, raffles and a silent auction.


Proposed Fairfield subdivision, first in 12 years, draws questions at meeting

Some on Fairfield City Council had questions concerning what could be the city’s first new subdivision in 12 years.

The applicant, Benzing LLC, led by Fairfield developer Joe Schwarz, wants to build a residential development to include 20 duplexes and 24 patio homes. Schwarz, who acquired the land in August, according to the Butler County Auditor’s Office, presented a concept plan on a proposed planned unit development, which would require it to be rezoned from agriculture to allow duplexes and patio homes.

The plan would develop 20 of the 32 acres of what’s known as the Benzing property at the northeast corner of Mack and South Gilmore roads. The remaining 12 acres ― which is closest to the Mack/South Gilmore intersection ― would remain undeveloped, Schwarz told council. He said he’s currently in negotiations to sell that portion.


Butler County officials considering water rate hike after new cost with Hamilton

Butler County water and sewer customers haven’t seen a rate hike in more than a dozen years, but officials are considering an increase because the cost to buy water from the city of Hamilton is increasing about 3.25%.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time looking at our rates. We haven’t completed our analysis yet, but yes, we are getting very close to recommending a rate increase,” Water and Sewer Department Director Martha Shelby told the Journal-News. “The exact timing I have not determined yet.”

The county renegotiated its water purchase contract with Hamilton in 2014 and saved about $28 million over the life of the new deal. Beginning in 2015 the county’s rate decreased from $2.78 per thousand gallons to $1.66, the same rate the county was paying to Cincinnati for some of its customers.


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

PHOTOS: 20 years ago in Butler County in scenes from October 2001

We went into the Journal-News archives for images of what Butler County was like 20 years ago, in October 2001.