Top local news for Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021

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

This family’s decorations hold court on their Hamilton street

After a season of darkness in December, 2020, the Christmas-light displays are again shining brightly on Van Buren Court.

The lights at Sheila and Sam Pike’s home, of 55 Van Buren, and several households they are related to, are offering their usual pleasant glow after a gap last year, when Sam was ill with COVID-19. But Sam, a postal-carrier, is better and back in action.

They won an award for it from Ann Coombs, a Hamilton woman who presents awards to people who beautify their homes with landscaping during the warm months. She also honors holiday decorations for Christmas and Halloween.


Downtown Middletown restaurant changing owners, name and menu

The owner of a downtown Middletown restaurant called the change in ownership and name “a win for everybody.”

Gracie’s, owned and operated by Ami Vitori, will close at the end of the month, then reopen Jan. 7, 2022 as Mz. Jade’s Soul Food, owned by Naiyozcsia King.

King has operated a catering business for seven years in Middletown and works out the former Murphy’s Landing in downtown.


Monroe HS grad, acclaimed filmmaker makes Forbes magazine’s rising star list

When he was growing up in Monroe — long before he knew of Forbes magazine’s list of America’s rising entrepreneurs — an ambitious teenager got an early start on making money to feed his passion for film making.

Monroe High School graduate Chase Crawford recalls hustling to become a young referee working soccer games in a neighborhood park to pay for his budding love of making movies.

It was the beginning of his teenage years of scrambling to find and pay for used equipment to make short, social media movies.


Teen girl ordered to remain in juvenile detention after allegedly making threat that closed Lakota school

LIBERTY TWP. — A teen charged with a felony for allegedly making a threat that closed a school in the Lakota district on Monday was ordered to remain incarcerated.

The 13-year-old girl is charged with making terroristic threats, a third-degree felony. She was arraigned on Tuesday by Magistrate Patricia Wilkerson and remanded back to the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center until a pretrial hearing on Dec. 28, according to Rob Clevenger, juvenile court administrator.

The magistrate also ordered the probation department to do an investigation, which would include the consideration of pre-trial release before the next hearing date.


Organizers hope Feed the Hungry Toy Giveaway creates ‘next generation of givers’

Chilly temperatures and the coronavirus pandemic couldn’t stop two Middletown organizations from spreading some holiday cheer.

Volunteers from Feed the Hungry Project and BB Rents, a property management company, passed out more than 1,000 toys and 170 bicycles to families Sunday afternoon during the 14th annual Louella Thompson’s Feed the Hungry Toy Giveaway, said Jordan Lee Kavanaugh, director of administration.

The event has been outside the last two years due to COVID health concerns, she said.


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

New Domino’s Pizza with dine-in, drive-through to be built in Franklin

Construction of a new Domino’s Pizza store is planned for 675 E. Second St. in Franklin, relocating from 1008 E. Second St., after the Franklin Planning Commission approved the major site plan for the project.

Southern Ohio Pizza, Inc. of Springboro, which owns the business, is planning to build a 2,000 square-foot building that will feature indoor dining and a drive-through lane on the site where a payday lender once operated.

The planning commission recommended approval to Franklin City Council, which will consider it at its Jan. 3 meeting.