New Farmer’s Collective, teen entrepreneurs and more: 5 uplifting Butler County stories to help you finish the week

People gathered at a recent Farmer's Collective event at the Two Little Buds flower shop. PROVIDED

caption arrowCaption
People gathered at a recent Farmer's Collective event at the Two Little Buds flower shop. PROVIDED

Here’s a look at five positive Butler County stories that were in the news this week:


Butler County elections director gets new kidney with help from friend group

caption arrowCaption
One Hamilton woman's friends came together to help her get a life-saving gift. Diane Noonan needed a kidney – and got one – with the help of her best gal pals.

One Hamilton woman's friends came together to help her get a life-saving gift. Diane Noonan needed a kidney – and got one – with the help of her best gal pals.

caption arrowCaption
One Hamilton woman's friends came together to help her get a life-saving gift. Diane Noonan needed a kidney – and got one – with the help of her best gal pals.

One Hamilton woman’s friends came together to help her get a life-saving gift. Diane Noonan needed a kidney – and got one – with the help of her best gal pals.

The women have a history of giving: WCPO profiled them last year after they gave a big tip to a pizza delivery driver during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their latest good deed saved the life of one of their own.

READ THE FULL STORY


West Chester chef nominated for this week’s ‘Savor Cincinnati’ after adjusting to pandemic

caption arrowCaption
Chef Michelle Brown of Jag’s Steak & Seafood in West Chester Twp. performs a cooking demonstration in August at the Western & Southern Open in Mason. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Chef Michelle Brown of Jag’s Steak & Seafood in West Chester Twp. performs a cooking demonstration in August at the Western & Southern Open in Mason. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

caption arrowCaption
Chef Michelle Brown of Jag’s Steak & Seafood in West Chester Twp. performs a cooking demonstration in August at the Western & Southern Open in Mason. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

When Cincinnati Magazine sent out word to local foodies to nominate eight chefs to cook at the fourth annual “Savor Cincinnati,” an upscale, multi-evening fine dining event, one of the chefs chosen was Michelle Brown, Chef Proprietor of West Chester Twp.’s Jags Steak & Seafood.

Paired with Nick Roudebush of the Golden Lamb, she will prepare a five-course meal (plus appetizers) on Savor Cincinnati’s kickoff night, April 27.

“I was flattered,” Brown said. “My husband operates the Golden Lamb. I’ve worked in their kitchen, and Nick has worked in ours. Balanced flavors are important to both of us.”

READ THE FULL STORY


Inspired teen entrepreneurs finding more support in local high schools: What they’re learning

caption arrowCaption
Talawanda High School graduate Emily Mullen credits the agriculture Butler Tech program at her school for helping her later launch a designer dairy and cow soap business. Lakota Schools now offer entrepreneurial classes for teens at its two high schools. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

Talawanda High School graduate Emily Mullen credits the agriculture Butler Tech program at her school for helping her later launch a designer dairy and cow soap business. Lakota Schools now offer entrepreneurial classes for teens at its two high schools. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

caption arrowCaption
Talawanda High School graduate Emily Mullen credits the agriculture Butler Tech program at her school for helping her later launch a designer dairy and cow soap business. Lakota Schools now offer entrepreneurial classes for teens at its two high schools. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

More area schools are making a priority of nourishing budding teen entrepreneurs through business start-up classes.

It’s a new focus coinciding in recent months with a local high school student and two recent Miami University graduates appearing on TV’s popular “Shark Tank” show.

One of the show’s investors agreed in the fall to finance $150,000 for a Fenwick High School teen’s paint-based product after a sales presentation by the student and his father.

READ THE FULL STORY


New Farmer’s Collective takes first steps in Hamilton: What it offers

caption arrowCaption
People gathered at a recent Farmer's Collective event at the Two Little Buds flower shop. PROVIDED

People gathered at a recent Farmer's Collective event at the Two Little Buds flower shop. PROVIDED

caption arrowCaption
People gathered at a recent Farmer's Collective event at the Two Little Buds flower shop. PROVIDED

Hamilton florist and flower farmer Mindy Staton has taken her vision of a wholesale market for flowers and farm products two steps closer to reality.

Her aim is to create a marketplace where flower growers and other farmers can sell one day a week to restaurants and floral shops throughout the region, including Cincinnati and Dayton. She says the collective will help farmers connect with buyers of local, fresh products.

On Wednesday, Staton hosted the first collective event at Two Little Buds, at 17 North D St., which will be the collective’s location until a larger, permanent home is found. Staton owns the flower shop in Hamilton with her mother, Alice Francis.

READ THE FULL STORY


New restaurant coming to former Steak ‘n Shake space in Hamilton

caption arrowCaption
Steak 'n Shake site in Hamilton

Steak 'n Shake site in Hamilton

caption arrowCaption
Steak 'n Shake site in Hamilton

Panda Express plans to open one of its fast-casual restaurants on the site of the former Steak ‘n Shake restaurant at 1485 Main St. in Hamilton.

“I think it’s great,” Council Member Michael Ryan said of the fact Panda Express and others have plans to open, along with several that recently have. “It’s a sign that Hamilton is continuing redevelopment in all areas, and the businesses have faith in our city, and they see the progress that we’re making. And they want to be a part of all the great things that are happening in town.”

The first Panda Express opened in 1983, in Glendale, Calif., and the company’s “fast-casual” Chinese restaurants now extend from coast to coast and internationally.

READ THE FULL STORY


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

5 area high schools rank in Ohio’s top 100 in new report

caption arrowCaption
The recently released, annual U.S. News and World Report ranking of top high schools in the state shows six of the top 100 best in Ohio are in Butler and southern Warren County. Lakota East High School is the third highest among the six schools. (File Photo\Journal-News)

The recently released, annual U.S. News and World Report ranking of top high schools in the state shows six of the top 100 best in Ohio are in Butler and southern Warren County. Lakota East High School is the third highest among the six schools. (File Photo\Journal-News)

caption arrowCaption
The recently released, annual U.S. News and World Report ranking of top high schools in the state shows six of the top 100 best in Ohio are in Butler and southern Warren County. Lakota East High School is the third highest among the six schools. (File Photo\Journal-News)

The annual U.S. News and World Report ranking of top public high schools in the state shows five of the top 100 in Ohio are in Butler and southern Warren counties.

The area’s highest-ranking high school is in Mason, which earned the 16th highest standing among Ohio’s 683 public high schools.

Several organizations rank K-12 schools, using a variety of formulas. U.S. News’ formula is based 90 percent on student testing — both state exams and the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate tests that some students choose to take.

READ THE FULL STORY


About the Author