10 things we learned about Butler County that you might have missed, from downtown development to grisly crimes

There was plenty of big news happening in Butler County in the past week. Here are 10 things we learned that you might have missed.

1. A huge fundraising festival is leaving Fenwick High School site for its old home

The new "The Festival at St. John XXIII" will be held in June, said school officials, and will raise money exclusively for the school.

2. The owners of the former Ohio Casualty building in Hamilton are considering apartments, other development

"We're looking at all the options, given the likely need for hotel rooms, once the Spooky Nook sports complex opens," Lichter said. "We're looking at what the region might need once that driver comes into the community."

3. Why Butler County commissioners chose Judi Boyko as the new county administrator

"When the commissioners approached me I listened, I heard the things they want to accomplish with the county, understanding they have achieved so much under Charlie's leadership and the county staff team," Boyko told the Journal-News. "They wanted to continue to elevate and continue to improve and from my time West Chester, continuous improvement has always been kind of a professional tenet of mine and I really have an affinity for Butler County."

4. Did you know Ohio no longer has “snow days”? That helps schools when bad weather hits

The old statewide rule of allowing five calamity school days for all of Ohio's 613 school districts was changed in 2014 to give more control to districts in handling their calendars. Because of that, local students and their families won't see much of a change in the remaining school year, said local school officials.

5. A man now deceased is responsible for death of woman found dismembered in truck, Hamilton police say

A Ross Twp. woman "discovered what she believed to be a deceased person" at about 3:15 p.m. on Dec. 6, according to a Hamilton police report. Police said Powers' body was "unwittingly" transported to Ross Twp., where she was discovered. Before the body was discovered, the vehicle was parked at Jackson's Auto Care on South B Street in Hamilton. Police towed a red Saturn VUE as evidence.

6. A Middletown hotel that was once called ‘notorious for its drug activity’ has been sold and changed its name

The former Parkway Inn has been under scrutiny by the Middletown police department because of the number of police calls to the property. Tina Srofe, manager of the hotel, said the company is renovating the 55 rooms. The goal, she said, is to "change the image" of the hotel and eliminate the "riffraff."

7. You could soon be drinking while shopping at Liberty Center if Liberty Twp. approves a request for the restaurant area

Outdoor drinking would be allowed from noon to midnight daily, and there will be about 22 signs telling people where they can and can't take their adult beverages, according to the plan. Special DORA cups that include the rules would be the only authorized drink containers outdoors. Retailers would have placards to indicate whether they want drinking in their stores or not.

8. Monroe’s medical marijuana dispensary is under construction and could open in the spring

Jimmy Gould, whose company CannAscend Alternative also has dispensary licenses in Dayton, Marietta and Logan, said the foundation concrete has been poured, the temporary electric has been installed, and the plumbing has been roughed in at the Strawberry Fields dispensary in Monroe.

9. Hamilton officials apologized for a late message to parents after student arrests at 2 schools last week

On Friday, a recorded phone message was belatedly sent to the freshman school parents that included an apology for not distributing an announcement on Thursday about the school fight after it took place at approximately 1 p.m., according to copy of the recording obtained by the Journal-News.

10. We heard eye-opening stories about the dangers of area police standoffs for the first time

Maynard was the team commander when officials became concerned that the armed Gazaway was going to harm his hostage. He put a team together to enter the garage when Gazaway requested water. The goal was to try to stop Gazaway with a clear shot if they got one.

"It was the most difficult thing I have done in my career, to hand pick who was going in, knowing they could have been shot and killed. We didn't know what we were walking into or how it was going to end," said Maynard, who was one of the five who took on the mission.

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