Top local news for Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022

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


Cohen Recycling and City of Hamilton to swap land

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Hamilton and Cohen Recycling are working out a land swap and could set up a potential redevelopment plan for the recycling company’s current plant.

Redevelopment of the recycling company’s Hamilton plant at 105 Black St. has been a discussion point, at least publicly, since June 2020. And in the next few weeks, the city is expected to OK the exchange of 4.58 acres it owns on North Third Street to the recycling company for 3.61 acres at Maple and East avenues.

According to a report for City Manager Joshua Smith, Cohen Recycling would move its nearly 18-acre operations to the downsized 4.58-acre lot just a half-mile away from its current location. The Journal-News left messages with Ken and Neil Cohen, the two principals of Cohen Recycling.

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Plaintiffs oppose pausing civil case against indicted Butler Co. Auditor Roger Reynolds

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

The plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against indicted Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds oppose pausing their case while he fights felony charges, saying he already has to reveal possibly incriminating evidence as he fights suspension.

Reynolds was indicted on three felony and two misdemeanor counts of bribery and using his public office for personal gain.

Attorney General Dave Yost filed documents Monday with the Ohio Supreme Court officially asking for suspension proceedings to begin against Reynolds for using his office to benefit his family. The documents include a recitation of the facts that brought about the charges against the auditor.

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Ross community gives nearly $7K to family of firefighter who died in crash

Credit: Submitted photo

Credit: Submitted photo

Gold Star in Ross Twp. has announced a fundraiser for the family of Brandon Sparks helped raise $6,791.

Sparks is a former Ross firefighter who died in December 2021 in a motorcycle crash. Shortly after the incident, the RTFD posted:

“Brandon Sparks joined Ross Township Fire Department as an Explorer while in high school and was hired as a part-time firefighter/EMT after graduation. He recently celebrated his 5 year anniversary with the department. You will be missed tremendously and loved forever by all of us.”

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Man sent to prison for fatal Hamilton shooting last summer

A Ross Twp. man has been sentenced to prison for a May fatal shooting on the porch of a Hamilton home.

Nicholas Lorenz, 41, was charged with murder and felonious assault, both with a gun specification; having weapons under disability and tampering with evidence for the shooting death of 47-year-old Jason Simpson on the morning of May 20 on Madison Avenue.

After a couple delays, Lorenz was scheduled to go to trial Feb. 28, but instead has entered an Alford plea to reduced charges.

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Middletown Visitors Bureau will get $224K to continue ‘positive message’ of city’s events, tourism

After a lengthy discussion and a last-minute revision, Middletown City Council unanimously approved an American Rescue Plan Act grant to the Middletown Visitors Bureau during its meeting Tuesday.

Mayor Nicole Condrey, for the first time publicly, said she “interacts” with the MVB so she abstained from voting on the legislation. Vice Mayor Monica Nenni was excused from the meeting.

The grant was scheduled to be for $224,000 over two years, but council member Zack Ferrell, concerned the MVB may need more money in two years, suggested spreading the grant over three years. Council voted to appropriate 40% of the $224,000 the first two years and 20% the third year.

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

PHOTOS: Cincinnati Bengals fans gather for rally at Washington Park

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Bengals fans gather for a rally in support of the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 at Washington Park in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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