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:

Some area high school graduations returning to pre-coronavirus indoor venues

Some upcoming area high school graduations in the second spring of the coronavirus will be conducted in the pre-pandemic fashion: inside.

And at least one local high school is going to a nationally known sports stadium for the first in nearly four decades.

Thanks to the spreading application of vaccines, demonstrated safety of social distancing and masks, local school officials said they have more options than they did with the spring 2020 commencements, many of which were postponed and held outside.


Appeals ruling prompts resentencing for man in fatal Middletown burglary in which co-conspirator was killed

One of two men who pleaded guilty in an attempted burglary that turned deadly last summer in Middletown was sentenced to prison Monday, but he will be back in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Friday for a resentencing after an appellate court ruling.

Andrew Roberts, 23, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and aggravated burglary in February with gun specifications. He and co-defendant Jonathan Oatneal Jr., 24, were each indicted in September for murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. In exchange for the guilty pleas, the remaining charges were dismissed.

Roberts faces a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison with an additional 5.5 years behind bars that can be imposed by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction if Roberts gets into trouble while incarcerated.


100-plus testified against bill to set minimum standard for armed teachers, staff in school

More than 130 people testified against an Ohio House Bill that would “expressly overrule” a court decision that states teachers and school employees must complete peace officer-level training to be armed.

But Ohio Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Twp., said he’s not opposed to increasing the minimum eight hours of training for armed school teachers and staff proposed in House Bill 99.

The minimum proposed is what is offered by the state’s concealed carry weapons training (CCW). Hall, who introduced the bill in February, said school districts could require higher standards.


Butler County expenses down as revenues continue to climb

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Butler County’s finances are stable despite the pandemic, but one official says that could change once federal stimulus funds evaporate.

Tax revenues collected in the county are down 22.5% and expenses are around 5% lower compared to the previous year, according to March data prepared by county finance director Angel Burton.

The figures are a bit skewed due to the absence of the first half property tax collection. The property tax bills went out late this year because County Auditor Roger Reynolds has argued with the state tax commissioner over the mandatory reassessment. The fight delayed setting the values and calculation of the bills.


State bill on registering roofing contractors designed to stop scams, Butler County lawmaker says

A Butler County lawmaker wants to make sure roofing contractors are registered with the state so consumers aren’t scammed.

Sen. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., jointly sponsored a bill with Sen. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, that will, among other things, require roofing contractors to register with the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board. Registration would require contractors have various types of insurance.

The bill would also allow consumers to cancel a roofing contract within three days after signing.


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

Fairfield Dunkin’ to hold grand opening Thursday: What to know

The country’s first Dunkin’ with a double drive-thru and double window service will hold its grand opening at 10 a.m. Thursday and make a check presentation to a local non-profit.

The restaurant opened last month at 6315 S. Gilmore Road in front of Meijer in Fairfield. Now that staff have been trained, Dunkin’ can host its grand opening and be “loud and proud,” said Julea Remke, marketing manager for the Gilligan Co., which owns 41 Dunkin’ locations in Ohio and Kentucky.

In addition to the official ribbon cutting and welcome remarks, the Gilligan Co. plans to donate $500 to its local charitable partner, Dougie & Ray’s. Dougie & Ray’s was created by Ted McDaniel, a Fairfield native, to help those kids who are in need and to mitigate bullying.