Top local news for Monday, Mar. 28, 2022

Here is a look at five big Butler County stories today to catch up on the news.

Liberty Center retooling strategy to stay alive in changing times

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

LIBERTY TWP. — Like most brick-and-mortar retail outlets, Liberty Center has struggled mightily throughout the pandemic and even before, but management says they refuse to quit and are working to retool the center to guarantee future success.

The $350 million mega mixed-use development opened in October 2015 on 65 acres in Liberty Twp. off Interstate 75. It has a range of retail, shopping, dining, living and office space and entertainment venues.

Steiner + Associates developed the project that was touted as a one-of-a-kind destination, and it is now owned by Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc. and run by Bayer Properties. The center, like the rest of the world, was crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic. General Manager John Taylor said they did everything they could to help their tenants during the shutdown.


Bond $1.5M for one of two men charged in Hamilton robbery fatal shooting

HAMILTON — The second of two Virginia men facing murder charges for a September shooting that killed a co-conspirator when the trio allegedly went to a Hamilton residence to rob a man is now back in Ohio.

Brandon Hill, 22, and Damian Owens, 27, were indicted in February by a Butler County grand jury for murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and felonious assault for their alleged part in the crime that led to shooting death of Jason Hendricks, 35.

Prosecutors said Hill and Owens went with Hendricks to the residence of John Andrews Jr. on Bingham Street to rob him, but Andrews shot in self-defense, killing Hendricks. The indictment was unsealed on March 17 after nine search warrants were served in Butler County, and Andrews was taken into custody on drug charges.


Driver in Middletown shot at multiple times, but not injured

Middletown police are investigating a drive by shooting Sunday afternoon that resulted in a car being riddled by bullets.

Isa’Iah Adams called police to the 1000 Park Lane about 3:30 p.m. and reported his vehicle had been damaged by gunfire. Officers found bullet holes and casings.

Sgt. Earl Nelson estimated “up in the teens” as to how many shots had been fired. But Adams was not hit or injured.


Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields celebrates 10th anniversary year: What comes next

A decade ago this July, a part of the late Joe Nuxhall’s dream became a reality.

And though the former Cincinnati Reds pitcher and broadcaster never stepped foot inside the Miracle League Fields complex on Groh Lane that bears his name, you can feel Nuxhall’s presence in all corners of the complex, said Ed Hartman, a longtime friend and marketing director for Furniture Fair.

“He’s in the rafters. He’s on the field. He’s in the dugouts. The scoreboards,” said Hartman, who chaired last year’s annual Nuxhall Memorial Golf Outing. “We’re all surrounded by a big hug from Joe, and his family has carried it on, gallantly and lovingly. This is what he wanted.”


Fairfield business: Hundreds of millions coming from openings, expansions in coming years



Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested into the city of Fairfield as existing businesses are expanding and new businesses are opening up.

Upwards of 1,000 jobs have been promised through tax incentive deals with several companies as they expand their footprint, with the lion’s share of those new jobs coming to Koch Foods as part of its $220 million expansion.

“Going into 2021, I wasn’t sure how busy we’d be because the pandemic was still going on, and it was just a lot of uncertainty,” said Fairfield Development Services Director Greg Kathman.


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

More classroom subs available, but candidates still down from pre-COVID in Butler County

Upping pay rates in recent months for K-12 substitute teachers schools helped expand the pool of candidates for temporary classroom jobs, but shortages caused by COVID-19 still remain, said Butler County education officials.

According to officials at the Butler County Educational Services Center (BCESC), prior to the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, the center – which handles the hiring of teacher substitutes for most of the county’s school districts – averaged about 1,000 applicants being placed.

But the 2020-2021 school year and the beginning of the current 2021-2022 was “terrible,” said Anna Hennig, a human resource specialist for the BCESC and a 16-year veteran of finding substitutes for local schools.