Category Archives: News

Walking on Mars: Dementia education through a play written by nurses.

Miami Regionals nursing faculty member Ann Bobonick has teamed up with her mentor Patricia Irwin, a nurse therapist and former Miami faculty member, to write a play to explore issues surrounding the growing prevalence of dementia.

“When Everything Looked So Dark” will get its premiere Thursday night in a Miami University Hamilton Theatre production. “The initial concept was Pat’s idea,” Ann said, but she is glad to have been a part of its development.

Performances will be 7:30 p.m. April 21, 22 and 23 in the studio theater in 307 Phelps Hall. All three shows are sold out.

“Asking me to help write a play was like asking me if I would walk on Mars with her,” she said. “I had never done anything like that. I don’t consider myself creative.”

She had known Pat for many years—both members of the Sacred Heart Church in Fairfield– and it was upon Pat’s advice that she got into nursing in the first place, “so how could I say ‘no’ to this lady?”

Pat said her first exposure to Alzheimer’s disease came around the time she got married when her Uncle Pete was suffering with it, and since then through her practice she has encountered many other cases with clients struggling with relatives who have the disease.

“There are five million active dementia cases right now in America,” she said, “and in ten years there will be thirteen million because we are living longer.”

She began working on the play five years ago to explore some of these issues. She came up with the idea of exploring a family in crisis, when a young man who is struggling to find direction in his life is suddenly confronted with the loss of his mother and is being pushed into taking care of his grandmother–Grandy–who has dementia.

“Grandy had said to her daughter, ‘Never put me in one of those places,'” Pat said, which is a common stance. “He chooses to keep his mother’s promise to not put Grandy away, so he sleeps at her bedside and learns a lot about who he is.”

Three years ago, she shared the concept with Bridget Ossman, a friend who is a teacher-turned-playwright and who encouraged her to continue working on it. Ossman coincidentally, is the sister of Bekka Eaton Reardon, Associate Professor in theatre at Miami Hamilton.

“Pat had heard me talk about teaching geriatric nursing at Miami,” Ann said, “and how the students and I lost our hearts to the people we served. It was then that she asked me to co-author the play.”

Over the next year, Pat and Ann would meet intermittently to create and develop the scenes. A new character was added, the girlfriend of the caregiver who would bring in her geriatric learning as a nursing student in to support Russell’s caregiver journey.

“When Everything Looks So Dark” comes from a lyric in the Johnny Mercer song “Accentuate the Positive” by Johnny Mercer, “because that’s what Russell learns to do with Grandy,” Pat said.
Directed by Bekka Eaton Reardon, the cast includes Miami Hamilton students Tyler King and Hannah Rastopsoff and Pat Napier, long-time theatre practitioner.

Each performance will be followed with a talk-back and panel discussion that will include a different slate of professional and personal caregivers each night.

“The arts can get deeper than more traditional teaching methods to help people learn,” Ann said. “If this goes further, perhaps it could be used to help train personal or professional caregivers.”

“It was a revelation, a gift to see it coming to life through these actors,” Pat said, “more than we expected.”

“To have them do this is beyond our wildest dreams,” Ann added. “It goes so much deeper when you see it coming through the actors.”

 

Making a Difference: Halle Gudgell

Miami Regionals’ student Halle Gudgell is full-time mother, full-time student, full-time community advocate.

Halle Gudgell didn’t plan on going to college right out of high school, and she didn’t plan on staying in Hamilton. But since she did, the Miami Hamilton campus and the entire city–if not the entire community–are enjoying the fruits of her unexpected journey.

Halle’s “Plan A” in high school was to join the United States Navy as Military Police when she graduated in 2014, and since she goes all-out when she goes, she was a leader in the Hamilton High School NJROTC program.

Halle speaking at Hamilton High in Mrs. Huff's class about getting involved with Seat at the Table and how important it is to get involved in your community.
Halle speaking at Hamilton High in Mrs. Huff’s class about getting involved with Seat at the Table and how important it is to get involved in your community.

“I felt it was my duty as a citizen to serve and put my time in, to give back to my country,” she said. “Anybody can tell I’m a very patriotic person. I’m all about the red, white and blue, and my friends all make fun of me.”

But halfway through her senior year, she got pregnant, and switched to “Plan B”, a degree in criminal justice from Miami University Regionals with the goal of becoming a civilian police officer.

As it often happens, however, a class opened her eyes to another path. In Halle’s case, it was a Political Science class in her very first semester.

“One of my professors said that if you want to see change, you have to make a difference yourself,” she said. “Basically, if you can’t beat them, join them. Politics is the way our country is run, regardless of how corrupt it may seem.”

A friend in that class enlisted her aid in starting a new group, Student Association for Law and Politics.

“So we started that last year,” Halle recalled. “We hosted a Meet the Candidates Night at Miami Hamilton Downtown and a voter registration event. We even took a group to Washington, D.C. for a tour.”

“We hosted an event called Politics and Pizza where students can come in and voice their opinion, talk about what’s on their minds, and we provide the pizza,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of places you can go to discuss these things without being judged.”

In a busy life, being a mother is one of the most rewarding things and in the end, her son Clayton is Halle's motivation.
In a busy life, being a mother is one of the most rewarding things and in the end, her son Clayton is Halle’s motivation.

During her freshman year, she decided to run for the Miami Senate, but soon raised her sights higher to the executive level and ran for secretary of the student government. She had her campaign all planned out with posters and candy give-a-ways so that she could reach out to her fellow students, so even when her opponents dropped out of the race, she followed through on the campaign, and she won. A year later, she was elected president of Miami Hamilton’s Student Government Association.

She also helped start a local program for the community called Seat at the Table, a nonprofit organization to promote voting and to get people registered.

“From there it took off to trying to get people more civically engaged in their community,” she said. “Right now, we’re working inside the high schools to build programs to help against the heroin epidemic. We’re connecting them with local officials, helping them build change in their community.”

“Back in June, we had a summit where Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller and other officials came in and spoke to the students about getting involved and making change.”

Halle is also active in the Criminal Justice Society, a student group that has hosted events like jail tours and recruitment nights to open a light on opportunities in the criminal justice field.

Because of her lingering interest in the military, she also got involved in campus programs to help veterans, and from there her efforts began to spread off campus and out more into the community.

At a veteran’s awards ceremony at the Voice of America Learning Center, she met State Representative Tim Derickson.

“After the ceremony I introduced myself and invited him to a veteran’s dinner for the Nicholas Olivas Fund,” she said. “We stuck around for an hour talking. He’s come and done other veteran’s events.”

When Derickson decided to run in the Republican primary for the Congressional seat vacated by John Boehner, she joined that campaign and now spends her weekends knocking on doors and making phone calls to voters throughout the Eighth District on Derickson’s behalf.

And if that isn’t enough, she’s also joined forces with a group of community activists who are trying to raise awareness of one of the city’s neglected parks, Combs Park along the Great Miami River near the dam in north Hamilton.

“I started working on this in October and when the weather warms up we’ll jump on it again,” she said. “I’ve gone out there several times. I didn’t realize how big that park was and how much potential it has.”

All this, in addition to being a young mother, keeps Halle busy. But she has the energy and the drive to be the change she wants to see in the world.

She still plans on a career in law enforcement when she graduates in 2018, but she also sees herself actively involved in politics.

Does that include running for office?

“Maybe,” she said. But just then her vice-president, standing nearby and listening in on the conversation chimes in: “Most definitely!”

MUH Regional Campuses launch first master’s degree program

Miami University Hamilton

In the office of Capt. Stephen Van Winkle, Miami University Police, there is a large wall, bare but for the obligatory coat of flat white latex paint. Nearby, there is a stack of framed certificates and diplomas waiting to be hung, including one from the F.B.I. Academy.

Capt. Van Winkle said that he is waiting for one more before he hangs them all, a very important one to serve as a centerpiece for all the rest: His Master’s degree in Criminal Justice.

He is now on his way to earning that diploma as he and fellow officer Lt. Jim Bechtolt have become the first to enroll in the Masters of Criminal Justice at the Miami University Regionals.

What’s more, Van Winkle and Bechtolt are making history by being the very first graduate students in a Miami Regionals program.

“There are a lot of Masters degrees in Criminal Justice, but we had found there was a gap in the market,” said Daniel E. Hall, chair of the Department of Justice and Community Studies, “providing an on-line degree intended for people who are in the field seeking promotion or career advancement.”

So the degree was designed to be completed completely online. There are two concentrations available, administration and crime analysis, with both theory and practice components enlisting the aid of other Regional Campus departments. While it is too soon to tell as this is the first semester of the program, Hall predicts that the crime analysis concentration will eventually become popular as there are few universities offering Masters degrees in that area.

“We teamed up with the Department of Geography, which offers geographic information system classes,” Hall said. “They have designed a GIS in criminal justice. Our Statistics Department is going to offer predictive analytics.”

The Miami University Regionals program is also unique because most graduate masters degrees typically end with a comprehensive exam or a thesis.

“We have a required project as a culminating experience for every student to bring together everything they learned,” he said. “Because they are in the field, they can identify a real problem where they are working or in their community, and then in the end come up with a solution or recommendation.”

It could be about anything, Hall said, from shift scheduling to race relations, how to better train officers in making stops.

The program should also prove to be attractive to professionals in areas other than policing.

“It could be anything in a justice-related area,” Hall said. “It could be corrections, probations, parole, out of the courts, but I guess that 50 to 75 percent will be policing.”

At current staffing, Hall said the master’s program can accommodate about 20 students without jeopardizing the undergraduate program, which has grown tremendously in recent years, with the blessing of the Dean’s office to grow to 40.

“We were two faculty five years ago and we’re eight full-time now,” he said. “Plus, we have a really good cadre of part-time faculty, including former instructor Judge Keith Spaeth and current instructor John McCandless, the chief of Miami University Police Department. Other master’s degree programs are taught by graduate assistants, but all of our courses will be faculty.”

Both Van Winkle and Bechtolt are taking the administrative concentration, and both said the convenience of being able to take all of their classes online was a distinct advantage to selecting the Regional Campus program over others.

“Until recently there weren’t many online courses available,” Van Winkle said. “I did look at other institutions with fully-online programs, but once this program was developed here, I knew there was no way I was not going to enroll.

“As working professionals, this isn’t just a Monday through Friday office job,” he said. “We get calls at two or three o’clock in the morning, so it’s such a convenience to work at our own pace.”

Van Winkle said that a Master’s degree will help him be a more well-rounded administrator, more in tune to what is going on in the outside world, more receptive to different ideas and viewpoints, more responsible to the citizenry.

“I set a goal when I was hired in here that I didn’t want to stay stagnant,” Bechtolt said. “You see a lot of officers who get content with what they’re doing, and that allows them to get jaded. I just want to keep excelling at different levels.

“To be good leaders, we have to be up-to-date at what’s going on so we can educate the young officers coming in,” he said.

Although it’s a new program and they’re just beginning the work, both Van Winkle and Bechtolt said they are recommending it to their fellow officers.

“It would definitely be a lot harder to do if you had to be in a bricks-and-mortar classroom,” Bechtolt said. “I don’t know that I would be able to do it. I know I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

For more information about the Master of Science in Criminal Justice, email criminaljustice@miamioh.edu or call 513.785.7702.

Shots from Badin girls soccer win over Preble Shawnee

E.L.Hubbard Photography

Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard Preble Shawnee defender Alexis Blanton and Badin forward/midfielder Maddi Maccio battle for the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard
Preble Shawnee defender Alexis Blanton and Badin forward/midfielder Maddi Maccio battle for the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard Badin midfielder/forward Marissa Kah (6) smiles after scoring a goal against Preble Shawnee during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard
Badin midfielder/forward Marissa Kah (6) smiles after scoring a goal against Preble Shawnee during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard Preble Shawnee midfielder Allison Began and Badin midfielder/forward Jamie Lehker battle for the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard
Preble Shawnee midfielder Allison Began and Badin midfielder/forward Jamie Lehker battle for the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard Preble Shawnee midfielder Jenna Lovely tries to move the ball past Badin defender Katie Pohlman during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard
Preble Shawnee midfielder Jenna Lovely tries to move the ball past Badin defender Katie Pohlman during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard Preble Shawnee defender Hope Ballinger and Badin Midfielder Maria Berkely battle for the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard
Preble Shawnee defender Hope Ballinger and Badin Midfielder Maria Berkely battle for the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard Badin midfielder Maddie Smith tries to take the ball from Preble Shawnee defender Ashton Collins during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard
Badin midfielder Maddie Smith tries to take the ball from Preble Shawnee defender Ashton Collins during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard Preble Shawnee midfielder Carlee Jones and Badin midfielder/forward Marissa Kah try to head the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard
Preble Shawnee midfielder Carlee Jones and Badin midfielder/forward Marissa Kah try to head the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard Badin midfielder/forward Marissa Kah controls the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game against Preble Shawnee at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard
Badin midfielder/forward Marissa Kah controls the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game against Preble Shawnee at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard Preble Shawnee defender Ashton Collins and Badin midfielder Malia Berkely fight for the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard
Preble Shawnee defender Ashton Collins and Badin midfielder Malia Berkely fight for the ball during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard Preble Shawnee midfielder Carlee Jones moves in on Badin midfielder Marcy Harper during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
Hey!Hamilton!/E.L. Hubbard
Preble Shawnee midfielder Carlee Jones moves in on Badin midfielder Marcy Harper during their Division III sectional girls soccer game at Eaton Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. Badin won the contest, 4-0.
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Mark Krekeler Research in Minerology Helps Improve the Environment

Dr. Mark Krekeler, Associate Professor of Geology & Environmental Earth Science at Miami University Hamilton and his students have done some remarkable research in environmental and industrial minerology, and he owes it all to a pig.

Through his undergraduate and most of his master’s degree, Krekeler had been trained as “a general geologist.”

“I’ve always been an outside person and I’ve always liked rocks,” he said.

But halfway through his master’s degree, a friend received a grant to go on a research trip to Honduras for two months and invited Krekeler to assist. That trip changed his perspective.

“We were mapping a river to find the ground water associated with it, and there was a woman there washing her clothes with a pig right next to her,” he said. “The pig does its business and she doesn’t break stride. At that moment, I thought there’s got to be a better way, so I started looking at minerals as a way to remove pollutants out of the environment.

“The nice thing about minerology is that it’s a lens through which we can view all kinds of things in society as well as science,” he said.

Since then, his career has taken a lot of different tracks. He’s an expert in a specific kind of clay mined in Georgia that is efficient in removing pollutants from water. He’s worked on ways to more efficiently remove gold from ore. And he has done research to get radioactive materials out of the environment.

“It’s all unified by minerology,” he said. “Minerals are a very systematic, ordered entity. If you understand minerals and their properties and explore why their properties vary, you can solve a lot of environmental problems.

“As an environmental and industrial mineralogist, I look at minerals as a resource and a tool to remove pollutants–phosphate, metals and pharmaceuticals–out of the environment.”

While his work has taken him to far-flung places around the United States, he and his students have done important research close to home.

Some of his students have published articles on lead pollution in Hamilton. Their research determined that a lot of lead in the environment has come from road paint.

“In the state of Ohio since 1947 they have used a lead-chromate based paint,” he said. “The basis was that it was insoluble and bright yellow. But they didn’t measure solubility over time.”

The first study was published in 2013, followed by another a year later about the nature and distribution of metal pollution.  Currently another paper is in review on the subject.

One of his graduate students  was able to trace the lead chromate into the river.

“The way our sewers are designed, it’s basically a direct pour, so to speak,” he said.

“There’s a decent amount of pollution in Hamilton,” he said. “I’ve started comparing our data to other places in the world, and we’re more polluted than 70 percent of other urban settings with respect to metals.”

The problem with metals, he said, is that they don’t go away once introduced into the environment. Even gasoline is eventually broken down by bacteria.

Since coming to Miami in the fall of 2008, Krekeler has had 50 undergraduate students present posters and papers at regional and national scientific conferences.

“I recruit students from my classes, where you can see where their interests lie and what they like to do,” he said. “I give them a small task and see where they go with it. From there, there are different ways of engaging students in research.”

Krekeler said that he tries to create a research environment where experiencing some degree of failure in experiments or analysis is just of a normal part of doing good science and is just a part of the learning process.

“It’s okay to try things out,” he said, “whether or not they come out as you expect.”

He encourages his undergraduate researcher to interact with his graduate students, and he leads a research group that meets weekly to coordinate the activities of his various research projects.

“We talk about being intellectually prepared for the meetings,” he said, “about how you deal with questions and the structure of questions, arguing why their projects are significant and what impacts they’ll have on society, why someone else might be interested.”

He also helps them frame their projects as a tool for going into industry or further research.

As a result, he said about 85 percent of his undergraduate research students continue in geology or science, either getting a job in industry or governmental agencies such as the EPA, or graduate school.

“That is pretty rare if you average things out nationally,” he said. “We’ve been fairly successful in getting our students involved early. That way, they develop their interests early and there’s a feedback loop that encourages them to do more.”

Chaco employees ‘Give Back’ on Columbus Day

Chaco Credit Union put its philosophy of “People Helping People” into action during the seventh annual Chaco Gives Back Day on October 12th, 2015.

Each year, Chaco Credit Union employees gather on Columbus Day to volunteer for non-profits around Hamilton, Fairfield, Oxford, and West Chester. This year, more than 500 hours of service were given by 75 volunteers at 12 local organizations.

Giving back to the community is a way of life at Chaco, and Community Enrichment Day is a highlight for the staff.

“Our entire team looks forward to this day.  We are grateful for what these philanthropies mean to our community.  We are happy to help where we can” said Jim Schultheiss, Chaco Credit Union President/CEO. “Our impact can be seen in local scholarships, member rewards, substantial sponsorships, monetary donations, and kindness inside our service centers.”

Chaco’s Community Enrichment Day 2015 included the following contributions:

  • Games with residents at Berkley Square and Butler County Care Facility
  • Landscaping, mulching, and painting at Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Mother Teresa Catholic School
  • Cleaning DVD cases and preparing for events at Fairfield and Hamilton Lane Libraries
  • Cleaning cages, garage and animal care at Animal Friends Humane Society
  • Cleaning cars and replacing window screens at Focus on Youth
  • Laundering, packaging clothing and/or working in the clothing store at Oxford’s Woman’s Care Center and Serve City
  • Sorting donations and preparing for events at Open Door Pantry and Shared Harvest Food Bank

Search #chacogivesback on Instagram to view all of our pictures from the day. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for highlight pictures, news, contests, and promotions.

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MU Regionals dubbed ‘Purple Heart University’

Miami University’s regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown have been designated a “Purple Heart University” by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

A signing ceremony will take place from 3-5 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 22, in 142 Johnston Hall on the Middletown campus.

“This is welcome news for our faculty and staff who’ve been through the military-friendly training, and for our student veteran population, both current and future,” said J.P. Smith, Veterans Outreach Coordinator.
Several faculty and staff members in every academic department, as well as staff members in Admission, Financial Aid, Records & Registration, and the brand new One-Stop Centers for Student Success on each campus, have completed the Military-Friendly Training that includes a pledge to be veteran- and veteran-family friendly.
Each academic department also has a Chief Military Adviser (CMA) who serves as the primary point of contact for veterans enrolling in each academic program. They will sign their pledge forms during the ceremony.
Representatives from the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 31, also will be on hand to sign the official “Purple Heart University” designation with Dr. G. Michael Pratt, associate provost and dean of the regional campuses, Smith said.
The training results in a thorough understanding of military terminology, the military mindset, academic and financial issues specific to veterans, benefits available to veterans, transfer of military training to college credit, and military training that aligns with specific academic programs.
“When a veteran arrives on the Hamilton or Middletown campus and asks questions, they get answers on the spot. That’s the level of service they expect, and that’s the level of service they deserve. We are immensely proud of our student veterans,” Smith said.
Miami Hamilton and Miami Middletown have a combined 130 veterans currently enrolled.
For more information, contact J.P. Smith by email at smithjp4@miamioh.edu or call (513) 785-7733. Miami University Hamilton is located at 1601 University Blvd. Miami Middletown is located at 4200 N. University Blvd.

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City receives recognition from International Economic Development Council

The City of Hamilton, The Hamilton Mill, and Jeffrey Thurman recently accepted awards for their economic development efforts in Hamilton from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most  influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

The City of Hamilton received the Gold Excellence in Economic Development award from IEDC for the Initiative Update in the General Purpose Print Brochure category for communities with a population between 25,000 to 200,000. The Initiative Update highlights the City’s major projects and provides information on cost and timeline. View the 2015 Initiative Update here.

The City also received two Silver and two Bronze Excellence in Economic Development awards for communities with a population between 25,000 to 200,000. The first Silver award is in the Public-Private Partnership category for the City’s partnership with the Hamilton CORE Fund. The partnership is aimed at revitalizing Hamilton’s urban core. The second Silver award is for Downtown Developers Day in the Special Event category. The event, which occurred in September 2014, brought developers into downtown Hamilton to discuss development opportunities.

The first Bronze award is for the City of Hamilton Data Center Brochure in the Special Purpose Print Brochure category. It is a marketing piece aimed at leveraging the City’s utility resources to attract the data center industry to the community. The second Bronze award is for the Economic Development e-Newsletter in the Newsletter category.

The Hamilton Mill received the Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for communities with a population between 25,000 to 200,000 for the business incubator’s new website in the Special Purpose Website category. The new website was part of their overall reinvention into Southwestern Ohio’s small business incubator for green, clean, water, digital and advanced manufacturing technologies. View The Hamilton Mill website here.

Jeffrey Thurman, President & CEO of Community First Solutions, received one of the most significant awards that IEDC bestows. Mr. Thurman received the Citizen Leadership Award, which is given to a community or business leader who is not an economic development practitioner, but has played a key leadership role in influencing economic development.

Mr. Thurman has been an active participant in the economic development efforts of Hamilton for the past 36 years. In addition to building one of Hamilton’s largest companies, he founded Leadership Hamilton in 1992 in an effort to sustain the city’s vitality.

The program educates emerging leaders on relevant community issues, expands their networks, and mobilizes leadership. The program has evolved and grown, boasting more than 600 graduates to date, many of whom hold esteemed positions in the community today. Mr. Thurman is also a key participant in city projects such as Hamilton’s Downtown Developer Day and the We Are Hamilton video.

Mr. Thurman chaired the Government Services Building Task Force as the city and county worked together to build a new government services center in the early 2000s. He is also the past chairs of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Hamilton Rotary Club. He has also served on the boards of Butler County United Way, Great Miami Valley YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of Hamilton, and The Center for Family Solutions. Today he is an active member of the Downtown Improvement District (SID), Board Member & past Chair of Leading Age Ohio Foundation, and Board Member of Ohio State University Core of Knowledge.

Community First Solutions supports a four-county area in Ohio, serving 46,000 individuals annually, and, is the city of Hamilton’s second largest private employer with 700 employees. Under Mr. Thurman’s leadership, Community First Solutions has made $75 million in capital investments within the community. He recently led the effort to relocate the company headquarters to downtown Hamilton. The company just celebrated the ribbon cutting on the $5.88 million rehabilitation of a historic building into the new Community First Solutions Resource Center. This investment is a critical contribution to the revitalization of downtown Hamilton.

The IEDC honors were presented at an awards ceremony on Monday, October 5, during the IEDC Annual Conference which was held in Anchorage, Alaska.

“Hamilton has won multiple awards each of the last three years, which is significant because it validates our economic development strategy. And it is such an honor to have an individual from our community win the Citizen Leadership award. Congratulations to Jeff Thurman,” Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith stated.

South Hamilton Crossing Overpass Project Receives Additional $3.75 Million From OKI

The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) has awarded the South Hamilton Crossing  overpass project $3.75 million from the Federal Surface Transportation Program. OKI is a council of local governments, business organizations and community groups committed to developing collaborative strategies to improve the quality of life and the economic vitality of the region.
This $3.75 million allocation is in addition to the $2.45 million OKI has already awarded the project.  The South Hamilton Crossing (SHX) project will improve transportation in the City of Hamilton and the region. SHX will replace an existing at-grade railroad crossing with a railroad overpass created by extending Grand Boulevard to the west. The Butler County Transportation Improvement District (TID) applied for the funding this year in partnership with the City of Hamilton.
Rendering of South Hamilton Crossing
In addition to the $6.2 million from OKI, SHX has received $10 million in funding from the State of Ohio, $500,000 from the Butler County TID, $100,000 from the Butler County Engineer’s Office, and funds from the railroad. The City of Hamilton anticipates contributing approximately half of the cost of the project. The total project cost is estimated to be $29 million.
Currently, there is only one existing grade-separated crossing that permits east-west flow through the City of Hamilton (Jack Kirsch Underpass). This project is expected to greatly improve connectivity, reduce drive times, and increase safety. Currently, 56 trains travel through the existing crossing daily, blocking the crossing 15.3% of the time.
SHX is anticipated to have especially important benefits to Vora Technology Park, University Commerce Park, and Miami University-Hamilton, as it greatly improves transit access to these areas.
“OKI’s support of the South Hamilton Crossing project is crucial to its success and illustrates how important the overpass is to our regional transit network,” stated City Manager Joshua Smith. “SHX is very important for both safety and economic reasons. With the recent announcement that Barclaycard is opening a 1,500 person facility at Vora Technology Park, the need for better access to the area is more important now than ever. OKI continues to be a tremendous partner in our efforts to improve our transportation network and we are very grateful for OKI’s support. We are also very grateful for the Butler County TID. Without the leadership of Dave Spinney and the TID member board, we could not complete this project.”
The City of Hamilton began right-of-way acquisition for the project in February 2014 and construction is anticipated to start March 2016. The project is expected to be complete in mid-2018. There are records of plans for South Hamilton Crossing dating back to 1911.
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Meet the 167 Most Outstanding Women of Butler County

This year, instead of recognizing five or six(or more) local women for their community impact, the Hamilton YWCA is celebrating all of its past Outstanding Women of Achievement honorees.

All 167 of them.

“With time moving on, some of the ladies have passed away and we wanted to hold a reunion of sorts while we still have many of these wonderful women to treasure,” said event organizer Reva Evans.

The event will be 6 to 9 p.m. October 20 at the YWCA, 244 Dayton Street. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. Tickets will be available on-line beginning September 14 at www.ywcahamilton.com.  See the invitation at the bottom of this post.

In their honor, we publish all 167 names, beginning with …

Women of the Year

Lunatic Fringe Salon 2014
AGLOW Ministry 2013
Dr. Lee Knisley Sanders 2012
Germaine Vonderhaar 2011
Sherry Armstead 2010
Zellene Miller 2009
Kay Wright 2008
Kathy Carmack 2007
Altrusa Club of Hamilton 2006
Jane Rose Green 2005
Joan Witt 2004
Barbara Toman 2003
Pat Irwin 2002
Ann Antenen 2001
Adeline Zoller 2000
Ercel Eaton 1999
Janet Clemmons 1998

Women of Outstanding Achievement 1986-2014

 

Muriel Allen Bertsch Sr. 1986
Mary Collette 1986
Patricia Hoard 1986
Irene Moore Lindsey 1986
Mary Ann Willis (Sanders) 1986
Eva D Lande 1987
Jackie Parrish 1987
Joan Witt 1987
Peggy Collins 1987
Avis W Cullen 1987
Mary Law 1988
Thelma West-Schraer 1988
Edna Stieg 1988
Lois S. Friedlander 1988
Cubie Lee Johnson 1988
Anne B. Carr 1989
Marge Stewart 1989
Esther Rudder Benzing 1989
Marilyn Bowling 1989
Evalie Koehler 1989
Katherine Rumph Butler 1990
Jolynn Hurwitz 1990
Betty Lou Nein 1990
Louella Thompson 1990
Estella Beckett 1990
Joyce B. Thall 1991
Shirley Rosmarin 1991
Adeline Zoller 1991
Jill Gaynor 1991
Luella Walker-Engel 1991
Patricia F. Burg 1992
Leslie Herndon Spillane 1992
Eva Kessler 1992
Lynn Oswald 1992
Barbara Condo 1992
Lisa Willbrand 1993
Tina Osso 1993
Virginia Ritan 1993
Mildred Probst 1993
Mildred Whitehead 1993
Jacklyn Flannery 1994
Jane S. Rose Green 1994
Barbara K. Eshbaugh 1994
Katherine J. Pollicita 1994
Rita E. Yokers 1994
Marcia G. Wehr 1995
Honi Cohen 1995
Rita I. Ringel 1995
Marcia R. Koenig 1995
Barbara E. Blair 1995
Kathy D. Carmack 1995
Clare A. Easton 1995
Polly Landers 1995
Antoinette Lipscomb 1995
Ursula Pridemore 1995
Fern A. Frost 1996
Joyce L. Sampsel 1996
Cherly A. Hilvert 1996
Betty J. Huffman 1996
Suzanne H. Summers 1996
Michele M. Gressel 1997
Brenda L. Frazier  1997
Patricia Schaefer 1997
Janet Clemmons 1997
Marva W. Sampson 1997
Lori Rehm 1998
Sr. N. Pascaline Colling 1998
Cordelia R. Millikin 1998
Katie McNeil 1998
Jane W. Myers 1998
Deloris Rome Hudson 1999
Gloria Gardner 1999
Linda Hartford 1999
Cleo Ketay 1999
Marilyn de Soucy 1999
Mary Pat Essman 2000
Zellene Miller 2000
Carole Schul 2000
Mary Lou McCormick 2000
Juanita Blakley 2000
Katherine Becker 2001
Patricia Oney 2001
Pamela Mortensen 2001
Jan Teets 2001
Janet Baker 2001
Janet Miller 2002
Gerry A. Hammond 2002
Maureen Noe 2002
Janie McCauley 2002
Jeannie W. Garretson 2002
Judith Dirksen 2003
Mary Reimer 2003
Patricia Ellis 2003
Frances Sack 2003
Beth Gully 2003
Nancy Wiley 2004
Trudy Marcum 2004
Cynthia Pinchback-Hines 2004
Joan Dee Markle 2004
Elizabeth Leslie Leshner 2004
Katherine Klink 2005
Regina Johnson-Phillips 2005
Cynthia Glaub Brown 2005
Joyce A. Campbell 2005
Gail Della Piana 2005
Celia Crutcher 2006
Heather Lewis 2006
Sarah Kaup 2006
Sally Braun 2006
Tavie Gunneson 2006
Julie M. Joyce-Smith 2007
Auria Bibelhausen 2007
Portia Hudson 2007
Teresa V. Durbin 2007
Sarah K. James 2007
Sally Fiehrer 2008
Karen Miller 2008
Daria Daniels 2008
Ginger Bruggerman 2008
Jacky Banks 2008
Carla Fiehrer 2009
Karen Underwood Kramer 2009
Margestine Smiley 2009
Lauren Marsh 2009
Nancy Belew Follmer 2009
Mae Prentice 2010
Linda Bonham 2010
Rev. Isophene Andrews 2010
Elaine Garver 2010
Donna Kramer 2010
Angela Howard 2011
Kelli Kurtz 2011
Celeste Didlick-Davis 2011
Kimberly Mack 2011
Conzetta Millillo 2011
Tari S. Tharp 2012
Linda Marchetti-Moorman 2012
Homa Yavar 2012
Lynette M. Heard M.Ed. 2012
Dr. Alana L. Van Gundy 2012
Sheree Young, RNC 2012
Angie Brown 2013
Heather Wells 2013
Helen Rogers 2013
Jamie Murphy 2013
Kristy Collins 2013
Phyllis Hitte 2013
Judith Boyko 2013
Doris Bergen 2014
Rachel King 2014
Kimberly McKinney 2014
Denise Taliaferro Baszile 2014
Whitney Womack Smith 2014
2015 0908 ywca invite

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