Top local news for Tuesday, Mar. 8, 2022

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


Middletown detectives awarded for work in solving murder of 6-year-old boy

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Veteran Middletown police officers whose detective work led to the conviction of a mother and her boyfriend in the murder of 6-year-old James Hutchinson last year are the latest recipients of the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office Meritorious Award.

Officer Jon Hoover and Detective Tom McIntosh were surrounded with friends, family and fellow officers Tuesday for the award presentation at county Prosecutor Michael Gmoser’s office.

Hoover and McIntosh were partners in the detective section in February 2021 when Brittany Gosney and boyfriend, James Hamilton, fabricated a story about Hutchinson missing from their Crawford Street home. The truth was the Rosa Parks Elementary student was run over and killed by his mother as he clung to her van in a botched attempt to abandon all three children in Preble County.

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$54M in road projects planned for Butler County; Engineer concerned with rising costs

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens has $54 million worth of capital improvement projects scheduled for this year, but with gas prices soaring due to the Ukraine crisis, paving costs are “scary” right now.

Wilkens briefed the county commissioners Monday about the various intersection, bridge, paving and other projects on his plate this year. He said about $38 million is slated for new projects and about $16 million worth of work is still to come on the massive Liberty Way interchange project.

He is planning to spend $9.3 million resurfacing 43.4 miles of county and township roads. He told the commissioners he originally placed the county road price tag at around $3 million to $3.5 million but “jacked it up” to $3.9 million due to recent bids that have been received. He said that doesn’t even calculate in the crisis overseas and what that may do to pricing, since a main ingredient of asphalt is oil.

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Legal experts: Judge’s denial of civil trial stay not good for Auditor Roger Reynolds

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The visiting judge presiding over the Butler County auditor’s civil lawsuit ruled that it will proceed in tandem with the criminal bribery case, which legal experts say is bad for Roger Reynolds.

Reynolds was indicted on three felony and two misdemeanor counts of bribery and using his public office for personal gain last month. His trial is scheduled for Aug. 15.

Reynolds is also fighting a civil lawsuit that is intertwined with the criminal investigation. Reynolds asked Judge Dennis Langer to stay that case.

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207 jobs lost as West Chester military contractor goes out of business

Credit: PROVIDED/O'GARA ARMORING

Credit: PROVIDED/O'GARA ARMORING

O’Gara Hess Eisenhardt Armoring Company, known as O’Gara Armoring, began shutting down its operations last week because of financial struggles, according to a notice sent to the state.

But OhioMeansJobs Butler County is working to re-employ all 207 employees who have been, or will be, let go. Nine of the 207 employees will be retained to assist with winding down O’Gara Amoring’s operations.

The company sent a federally required Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services on March 3. This is not affecting the other division of O’Gara Group, O’Gara Training & Services, according to the company.

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Miami University Regionals program allows Hamilton, Middletown high schoolers to earn credits

A new, early college credit program was recently unveiled that could see dozens of Hamilton and Middletown students simultaneously earn their high school diplomas and a Miami University associate degree by the spring of their senior years.

Officials from the two school districts — along with Miami officials — joined in a partnership and announced the program’s launch for next school year’s high school junior applicants to the new Early College Academy program.

Unlike the more than decade-old College Credit Plus, which allows Ohio high school students to study to earn college credit from a variety of universities and community colleges while in grades 9-12, the Early College Academy participants must be juniors and will study only Miami University Regionals courses.

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

Kayla Harrison, two-time champion, re-signs ‘historic new contract’ with PFL

Credit: Gregory Payan

Credit: Gregory Payan

Kayla Harrison, considered the hottest free agent in MMA, is staying put.

The Middletown native and two-time Olympic judo champion, has re-signed with Professional Fighters League.

Earlier this year, MMA promotions Bellator made Harrison, 12-0 as a professional fighter, an offer, but PFL had the right to match the offer and it did.

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