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hidden news

Printed From: MiddletownUSA.com
Category: Middletown City Schools
Forum Name: Other School Issues
Forum Description: Discuss other issues such as school security, student activities, etc.
URL: http://www.middletownusa.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=6699
Printed Date: Sep 25 2018 at 7:22pm


Topic: hidden news
Posted By: tomahawk35
Subject: hidden news
Date Posted: Mar 02 2018 at 12:28am
Why doesn't the local paper report incidents that happen in Middletown. There was a fight at the local high school this week with all phones taken from students who video it, plus students finally broke it up as 3 or more teachers just stood around and watched it.  



Replies:
Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Mar 02 2018 at 8:02am
The Journal News has a reputation for selective reporting.  

Channel 9 News has a good reputation for reporting uncensored news and investigates news tips.


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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: middletownscouter
Date Posted: Mar 02 2018 at 8:07am
Because there isn't a local paper anymore?  The Middletown Journal was sucked into the Journal-News several years ago which appears to be more prominent to Hamilton and the rest of Butler County than Middletown.  At best we have a regional paper where our community is more of an afterthought than anything else.

But to be fair, a google search for all the regional news outlets is showing nothing at all about an incident this week at MHS.  There is one Fox19 story about a mom upset that her daughter is getting a 10 day suspension for filming a fight at Highview Monday, but that's it.


Posted By: whistlersmom
Date Posted: Mar 02 2018 at 10:25am
Suppressing information, confiscating phones and failure of teachers to halt fights at city schools sounds like some serious violations ...  of civil rights?

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke


Posted By: buddhalite
Date Posted: Mar 02 2018 at 2:06pm
I'm all for this kind of information - but where's the proof?  It's one thing to report something that is common knowledge - it's another thing to level accusations that can't be proven.

I'm not being sarcastic, Tomahawk, just being honest.  If there's any proof that there was an incident - and the cell phones were confiscated - then those involved need to stand up and speak out.

Sometimes in our schools there are incidents that involve students with special needs that, when isolated by a 15 second video on a phone, can be either blown out of proportion or are just out of context.  But - it I were a student and had my phone confiscated because of something like this - I'd be speaking up about it.  If I was the parent of the kid and I bought them a cell phone and it was confiscated (and I've seen kids all over that campus on their phones at all hours of the day, so it's not a permissive issue) I think I'd be pretty upset and speak up about it.

If the incident happened - those involved need to speak up...otherwise it kinda resembles slander when revealed in this manner.  Again - I'm not trying to say it didn't happen - but if that's true there's a heck of a story that any number of news outlets would love to get their hands on.


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"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."—Henry David Thoreau


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Mar 02 2018 at 5:50pm
I used to have to visit Highview on a regular basis. I called it Shawshank.


Posted By: tomahawk35
Date Posted: Mar 07 2018 at 12:50am
The incident happened at Highview not high school as I was first informed. You can go to Fox news and type in fight at Middletown school which has a video. The date was Feb. 28th and was broadcasted by fox the same night.  


Posted By: buddhalite
Date Posted: Mar 07 2018 at 1:19pm
I just watched the full report.

1. A teacher (at least an adult was seen stepping in to stop the fight - not students).
2. Only one phone was taken according to the report
3. The student was suspended after taking the phone back to the classroom and showing the video to others
4. Neither the parent nor student would show their faces.
5. No discussion of said student's prior disciplinary history.
6. Parent only going to appeal length of suspension not overturn it.

Methinks there's more to this story...I'm not really sure what the Journal would have reported.  There was a fight a Highview.  Happens everyday.  What would have made this newsworthy?


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"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."—Henry David Thoreau


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Mar 18 2018 at 1:02pm
Has anyone here had their comments removed from this site?



Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Mar 18 2018 at 1:20pm
I'm surprised that personal slurs against commenting members are allowed to remain while posts uncomfortable to the city are removed.  Odd.


Posted By: middletownscouter
Date Posted: Mar 19 2018 at 9:03am
Either you're joking or you haven't bothered to read most of the posting going on on MUSA.  The vast majority of the 25 or so active users are very much not fans of just about anything the city does.  If Mr. Beagle were to remove comments that were uncomfortable to the city, well there'd be nearly no traffic at all.


Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Mar 19 2018 at 6:13pm
Middletownscouter -

You seem to have an "unorthodox interest" in documenting the diminished number of active MUSA Blog members and those expressing displeasure with city government priorities, policies, plans and programs.  You should spend additional time going through the MUSA Blog archives over the past 10 years.  You'll find quite a number of now inactive members who factually voiced concerns regarding the actions of One Donham Abbey staff and city council counterparts.  You'll find that a number of participants grew tired of posting along the way because senior city staff and city council never paid much (if any) attention to their concerns.  It had become an "exercise in futility" for some that continues on to this day.

It would be interesting to know your personal take on the costs/benefits and failures/successes derived from the $20+ million spent since March 2009 on economic development, downtown revitalization plus older neighborhoods improvements.  What say you?  Please be specific if you choose to reply.


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Mar 20 2018 at 12:22am
You are right, Scout,  I withdraw the question and comment.


Posted By: middletownscouter
Date Posted: Mar 20 2018 at 8:59am
Originally posted by Analytical Analytical wrote:

You should spend additional time going through the MUSA Blog archives over the past 10 years.  You'll find quite a number of now inactive members who factually voiced concerns regarding the actions of One Donham Abbey staff and city council counterparts.  You'll find that a number of participants grew tired of posting along the way because senior city staff and city council never paid much (if any) attention to their concerns.  It had become an "exercise in futility" for some that continues on to this day.

I don't need to go through the archives, I've been here for it and seen the decline firsthand.


Posted By: Perplexed
Date Posted: Mar 20 2018 at 9:55am
You'll find that a number of participants grew tired of posting along the way because senior city staff and city council never paid much (if any) attention to their concerns.  It had become an "exercise in futility" for some that continues on to this day.


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Mar 20 2018 at 11:09am
The futility does not absolve our responsibility.


Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Mar 20 2018 at 2:37pm
Scouter,

You obliquely craft comments about the MUSA Blog's ineffectiveness plus the futility of participants raising valid issues about Mr. Adkins and city council priorities, policies, programs and projects.  While It's your prerogative to do so, why not consider penning an occasional constructive suggestion instead?

What's interesting is your avoidance of realistic ideas to strengthen and expand blog participation.  The same holds true for your absence of commentary refuting documented waste of city funds in undertaking ill-conceived "downtown" and older neighborhoods revitalization.

Matt R and Whistlersmom are right in stating that it's a responsibility to speak out when those in power are seemingly sustaining and not diminishing so many detrimental community problems afflicting Middletown.

We're still awaiting your opinions on Middletown's betterment.


Posted By: John Beagle
Date Posted: Mar 20 2018 at 3:22pm
Originally posted by MattR MattR wrote:

I'm surprised that personal slurs against commenting members are allowed to remain while posts uncomfortable to the city are removed.  Odd.

If you think you could do a better job, come and see me at my office.

In the meantime, we do our best to keep the site open to free speech as much as possible. 


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http://www.johnbeagle.com/ - John Beagle
Middletown USA
News of, for and by the people of Middletown, Ohio.


Posted By: Perplexed
Date Posted: Mar 20 2018 at 4:56pm
John,

The blog remains the only venue in the city that promotes free speech and diversity of thought.  Thanks!


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 20 2018 at 5:44pm
mr.b--thanx 4 all that u have done here
has 2 b a difficult  juggle
much appreciated
don't know what else 2 say about these situations
groundhog day?
deja vu all over again?


Posted By: middletownscouter
Date Posted: Mar 21 2018 at 7:59am
Nelson,

You're so far off base it borders on the absurd.  I've commented on the shrinking userbase on exactly two threads on this message board.  It is not unorthodox for a long time user to look around and say "Where did everyone go?"  If you think it is, then I don't know what to tell you.

When there are threads where I feel like giving my input, I have done so.  Whether it was for or against city policies, that has varied based on my opinions of those specific topics.

What I have not done, and will continue to not do after this comment, is engage in your multi-year unorthodox - nay, unhealthy - interest in doing not a single thing but grind your personal axe against a city administration that you have not worked for or lived in for nearly a decade.  Because to engage in that would be like wearing a belt made of watches...simply a waist (waste) of time.

But hey, you do you.  Just leave me out of it, I have no interest in being sucked down that rabbit hole.


Posted By: Perplexed
Date Posted: Mar 21 2018 at 8:20am
Since you're apparently comfortable with the outcomes of the city's multi-million dollar "downtown", economic development and older neighborhoods revitalization(?) of the past nine years, there's really nothing else to say to you.


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 21 2018 at 1:17pm
???
Crazy talk,Nelson imo
No one here is bound to anyone else or any particular thinking
Things might work better if we read and listen to everyone
Everyone wants the city to improve
It’s not like saviors are lining up to work in Middietown
Granted, Council is doing very little to inform citizens and change perceptions
I would not vote for any of them to return, though I am willing to work with them or help them in any way possible

Criticizing Scouter for being a realistic optimistic thinking citizen seems very counter-productive imo
Websites come and go with popularity
I see that I have posted here for 11 years now and have accomplished little to nothing
I choose to quietly live my time here and help wherever asked that I see as sensible and constructive
It has been very informative here—I hope that it continues


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Mar 21 2018 at 6:49pm
Thanks for the smack down 4 hours after I withdrew my comment, classy.


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 22 2018 at 12:18pm
No smack down
I respect mr. Self as much as anyone
I appreciate the sharing of information by everyone
Same with opinions
We all want a better Middietown


Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Mar 22 2018 at 1:40pm
Thank you, Spiderjohn!

Yes, I've lived in my hometown of Springfield, Missouri since Easter Sunday 2011.  However, I remain interested in the citizens of Middletown having their tax dollars utilized for cost-effective, highest and best use and PRODUCTIVE "downtown", other economic development and older neighborhoods rejuvenation efforts.

Speaking of Springfield, I recently sent VietVet a feature article from the News-Leader about how the number of downtown loft apartments here has risen dramatically from 54 a decade ago to 727 now!  What's most impressive is that this considerable central city investment is mostly privately funded.  By comparison, how sad it is to think of the plight of the former Goetz Tower deal, etc..

When I drive through our downtown area, I feel pride when I view the "boutique" Hotel Vandivort 84-unit complex.  This formerly vacant and unproductive property was brought back to life without city funding.  In fact, its' owners recently announced plans to add 42 more units to the complex (again privately funded).  By comparison, how sad it is to think of the plight of the former Manchester Inn, etc.

The newest accomplishment  here is a an architecturally appropriate craft beer development within the Roundtree Historic Residential District.  This privately-funded facility was privately-funded.  I've mailed a recent feature article from the Springfield MO News-Leader to VietVet.  It reminds me of Josh Laubach's privately-funded development in Middletown, and, conversely, the generously city-subidized Liberty Spirts LLC undertaking.

In Springfield, the Citizen;s Participation Process is far different from what's been the case in Middletown since March 2009.  Residents here are genuinely considered as stakeholders!  They have proper access to information and legitimate meaningful participation in HUD-funded CDBG and HOME Program activities.  In 2008 this was still the case in Middletown when I served as Community Development Coordinator!.

Thank you for considering these comments.  Open, inclusive governance is a worthy goal.


Posted By: MattR
Date Posted: Mar 22 2018 at 1:42pm
I meant from Mr. Beagle.


Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Mar 22 2018 at 1:48pm
Correction to my last post.................

It should read:  The newest accomplishment  here is a an architecturally appropriate craft beer development within the Roundtree Historic Residential District.  This is a 100% privately-funded facility. 


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 22 2018 at 5:20pm
Will b the same result here some day.....


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 23 2018 at 8:24am
Originally posted by spiderjohn spiderjohn wrote:

Will b the same result here some day.....


IMO, not unless there is a total change on council, the city manager, elimination of downtown focus on arts and culture and a new city stance on allowing the private sector to dictate the downtown development. The current method of city taxpayer money being used to subsidize downtown growth hasn't fared too well as millions of the people's money has been spent instead of private investor money to aid private sector developers like Robinette and Grau. It is wrong to use our money to help a business owner. If a person wants to build a business, they should shoulder the entire cost of the set up.......and they should take the loss if the business fails.

Middletown will never be as successful as Springfield Missouri (after having read the Springfield article) nor any other city until they realize the path they are on is one that is destined to failure. The downtown theme is all wrong as the merchants offer what most don't care about in this city and the idea of attracting people to live downtown hasn't had any interest. The theme doesn't attract enough patrons to keep any business down there in business. A constant turnover in business startups downtown with many storefronts yet to see any business interest at all in the last four decades. Why does downtown have to have a "niche" like the arts? Why can't it be focused more on what the people of Middletown are interested in? The "niche" to find downtown success is to determine the demographics of the city and find the entertainment and shopping interests of the people living here. Then tailor the downtown to those wants and needs. Hell, Traders World offers more of what people in Middletown want than this arts and culture crap they insist on pushing on the people. You want to fill the sidewalks of downtown, take out the arts and culture and put in some blue collar entertainment. You want to congest the streets of downtown, bring in a casino and build it by the river. All kinds of bed and breakfast places will follow along with an abundance of restaurants and other entertainment. Forest Hills could get involved offering golf to casino patrons. The Manchester may see interest again in a rehab effort because people are going to find someplace to stay during their casino time here. Other hotels would be needed as well. Businesses could benefit by a meeting place and convention center by rivers edge close to the casino. Let the casino be the catalyst for growth downtown, not arts, culture, Cincy State, bike paths and ideas that haven't worked to date.

What they are doing to grow downtown ain't working. In it's current state, it is considered an afterthought at best to the average Middletonian. It just flat out has nothing to offer most people living here.

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I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 23 2018 at 5:38pm
Here is where we might disagree, VVet....
The former downtown area IS improving imo. Certain privately-owned small businesses are filling a need and taking hold. They are trying everything to succeed, and things are slowly materializing. I patronize a few of these businesses, as do many others that I know and recognize. I see more activity in these locations every day. Is every day sunshine, happy and successful?? Of course not--it is not an easy journey. I expect to see many ventures come and go, as with anywhere. I DO NOT see much improvement in the other parts of the city unfortunately, which I find very troubling. I wish our admin would show equal love to so many others struggling for survival and as deserving or more to receive municipal support. DMI needs to reach out to the community and show that everywhere and everyone else matters just as much(maybe more so!).

I(and many others) want far more than "blue collar" interests. I enjoy the arts and find them to be an attraction. Finer dining, realistic shopping options, better entertainment options spread throughout the community.  IMO that is the only way to bring this city back where everyone shares in the enthusiasm and positives. Many are beyond tired of having to travel elsewhere for even basic clothing and appliance needs. We are honestly lucky to still have an honest nutritional foods availability at all(and that continuance is far from assured).  We are seriously struggling in that regard. Our schools continue to struggle, our drug/crime situation is not good, and the all-important employment situation(a serious driving force) has honestly not improved. We are lacking in appeal to everyone outside looking in. With Austin, Liberty and such, that fight is long lost. 

To a large degree, I lay most responsibility on our continuing merry-go-round of elected and hired officials. Their lack of REAL inclusion and forward change is holding us back. They need a serious re-evaluating look in to the mirror and ask themselves if they honestly should continue in their positions

Also comes the real responsibility for the rest of us. We need to step up to accentuate the positives and mentor our future generations to regain community pride and self-worth. Being a serial dependent, slacker or always negative force isn't helping. I honestly believe in a lot of our city manager's/admin's intent, along with our police ands emergency depts.
We need them to improve their methods and communication skills, and not give in to blow-back. A lot of the distrust has been well-earned imo.

So--shut up--step up--and do your part and more. Hopefully it will be contagious.
We all have equal responsibility to be as constructive as possible to improve our situation.
Should seem natural, and there honestly isn't a reasonable alternative.


Posted By: Analytical
Date Posted: Mar 24 2018 at 1:53am
Yes, Spider, there's evidence of non city-subsidized smaller commercial growth in the "downtown".  However, the more prominent city-subsidized stalled "downtown" deals diminish and detract from what's positive.

The primary issue was/still is the city's record of costly and mostly ineffective "downtown" commercial redevelopment hand-outs.  Maybe, just maybe, Doug Adkins and his staff will eventually become more competent when it comes to highest and best use, cost-effective and productive taxpayer-funded assistance priorities, policies, plans and programs 

There are local real estate, banking, commercial development, seasoned business professionals and resident advocates in the city who could and should be be called upon to help craft "real world" strategies for the "downtown" and older neighborhood areas.  People such as Paul Renwick, Walter Leap, Steve Dillman, VietVet, Whistersmom, John Beagle, etc. need to be engaged.  Back in 2007-08, this was the case insofar as the city's HUD-funded home ownership and owner-occupied housing rehabilitation initiatives were concerned.

IMHO, the "brain trust" at One Donham Abbey needs to be much less isolated and more meaningfully resident inclusive in terms of assessing and creating various city redevelopment goals, objectives and programs.  And, the Middletown Journal editorial staff needs to be somewhat less Police Gazette oriented in its reporting thereby promoting the city in a far more positive and hopeful light.

Spider, VietVet may not be in total agreement, but, you both have a committed and long-lasting concern for the city.


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 24 2018 at 2:15am
It's ok to disagree. I respect your opinions.

Ok Spider, let's review what you have posted here.......

1st/2nd paragraphs:

You mention that the downtown is improving and give your reasons for the improvement. You use the word "I" here many times. "I patronize a few....."
"I see more activity......" "I expect the see many ventures...."

That is fine that YOU observe these things in the city. But my contention is that MOST Middletonians aren't like you and that you and those who think like you are in the vast minority of the population. I would guesstimate that your thinking represents less than 2-3% of the city. It IS a blue collar town and always has been. You know that, living here as long as I have. Let's face it, if you stereotype a blue collar person, arts and culture are nowhere to be found. IMO, your interests (arts/culture/gourmet food/specialty coffee shops) do not represent what most living here are interested in. Knowing that Middletown has been taken from a moderate income town to a low income city, most couldn't afford the asking prices on the art downtown anyway. HUD/low income people don't do the arts. I'm not interested in them myself.

Spider:
"Many are beyond tired of having to travel elsewhere for even basic clothing and appliance needs"

Oh, I don't know about that Spider. Is there a need to travel outside Middletown for better things? I just bought a nice GE built-in dishwasher from Lowes a week ago and it looks and performs just fine. Do you really need to buy a "top of the line" appliance to do the job. That GE cleans the dishes just a nicely as the Kitchen-Aid that went belly up on us a few weeks ago. Basic clothes? Hell, with the casual look of today, a pair of jeans and a T-shirt is appropriate for most days isn't it? Doesn't have to be Rockports, Dokkers (sp?) and dressy stuff for everyday does it? For Middletown, Kohl's is the upscale place to buy clothes isn't it?....and isn't that good enough for this city?

You go on to "go negative" on the schools, the drug scene, crime, employment, appeal, etc. in the latter half of paragraph 2.

Paragraph 3:
More criticism on elected officials and their lack of inclusion and forward change which is what I do often on this forum and you ask whether they should be in their positions at all which I also do quite often.

Paragraph 4:
Then you contradict yourself here on the negative thing you mentioned in the previous paragraphs by saying.....

"We need to step up to accentuate the positives and mentor our future generations to regain community pride and self-worth. Being a serial dependent, slacker or always negative force isn't helping."

And....."I honestly believe in a lot of our city manager's/admin's intent, along with our police ands emergency depts."

In paragraph 3, you told us about the elected and hired official merry-go-round and should they honestly continue in their positions and that communication skills need to be improved.You also told us that always being negative isn't helping us but what are some of the above comments you made other than being negative?

Last paragraph:

"So--shut up--step up--and do your part and more. Hopefully it will be contagious.
We all have equal responsibility to be as constructive as possible to improve our situation.
Should seem natural, and there honestly isn't a reasonable alternative."

Shut up? Never. Not until we right the ship and get some competency in this city government. You know as well as I do, the city has gone down the toilet compared to what it once was. I see it. You see it. The difference between you and I is that you may accept the downgrade much more than I do. I am incensed the bastards have destroyed a once nice town. I am incensed the prior/current councils/city managers had so little disregard for this city they could have cared less that the decisions they made have resulted in this cluster f--- of a city operation. IMO, having seen what both of us have seen, and made comparisons between when the city was run competently and now, we both should be incensed as to it's current condition and reputation.

Step up? How? They don't want to hear any suggestions if it doesn't agree with their agenda. C'mon Spider, we both know that. They have their gameplan and if you suggest anything outside that gameplan, they close their little minds and do not listen to other ideas, especially if the ideas come from the "common rabble" and not the friends of the city. Exclusion is their game if you're not in the backroom, buddy back slapping crowd here. Has been that way for decades. You know this.

Do your part? See above.

Contagious? Naw. Too much apathy from the many who live here who don't have a clue how this city was in the good days. They are too new and are too non-caring to make any effort. Hell, we see that on voting day when the low voter turnout appears. Most of the apathetic people haven't even registered, much less get their lazy asses off the couch to go vote. Most newbies in this town just don't care about the city and are not in to contributing to it's success or change. They are here for the abundant HUD/low income programs and freebie handouts though. Uncaring users Spider, not contributors nor citizens we need to label as quality residents. The populace quality of this city has hit rock bottom IMO. Not as caring nor with as much self pride as generations before. Those here now simply want to use the handouts and move on. No pride. No ties. No life foundation. Just survival in the moment and move on to the next city with a handout opportunity. JMO

"We all have equal responsibility to be as constructive as possible to improve our situation."

Hard to be constructive when you keep attempting to offer ideas and keep getting your nose pushed in the crap. Tend to give up when council and the city manager won't listen to your ideas. Try once, shame on them. Try twice, shame on me type of thing.

Thank you for reading Spider.    





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I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.


Posted By: buddhalite
Date Posted: Mar 25 2018 at 10:50pm
From the Cincinnati Enquirer in 2001...

Thought it was interesting!

=======

Sunday, October 14, 2001

Middletown finds its way

Industrial town grapples with change

By James McNair

The Cincinnati Enquirer

a MIDDLETOWN It's Sunday-morning quiet downtown on Main Street. Stoplights change for cars nowhere in sight. The Sorg Paper mill, shut more than a year ago, stands solemnly like a penitentiary wall at the west edge of town. Ben Ligon's 76 Service is servicing nothing.

 What makes the scene so contradictory is that this is a Friday, not a Sunday. Banks, government offices and stores are open. But the real Main Street, with businesses teeming with customers, is 10 miles away at the city's lone link to Interstate 75.

Mr. Ligon, a wiry 66, doesn't seem to mind the lulls between doing oil changes. The gas pumps are long gone, and his two bays are empty, as is the Snack-Rite machine inside the propped-open front door. Still, Mr. Ligon stays open from 8 to 5 and works Saturdays.

 It's just something to get away from home, he shrugged.

 Many cities and towns share the dilemma of stagnant downtowns and suburban flight. Middletown, though, has a more fundamental problem at its doorstep: Trying to make itself over as a diversified business center after a century of dependence on steel and paper.

 The effort stems partly from the recognition that Middletown, perched squarely between Cincinnati and Dayton, has a future as a regional business hub and commuter haven. But there's another factor beyond the city's control: The continuing unraveling of its primordial manufacturing sector.

 In May 2000, Sorg Paper called an end to a 148-year run and laid off its last 200 employees. Square D, an electrical devices maker, is dislodging 250 workers through the phased shutdown of its 101-year-old Middletown operations. And AK Steel the successor to Middletown's longtime corporate benefactor, Armco has said that a slumping steel market and new environmental-compliance mandates could force it to halt raw steel production and eliminate 2,000 local jobs.

 The upheaval in manufacturing goes back several decades and has made Middletown less self-contained and less certain of its identity. More and more, natives are going elsewhere for work.

 The aim of most of my classmates in 1951 was to get a car and get a job at Armco, said City Council member Fred Sennet. But today, it's tough to keep a kid in town because there are fewer jobs in the steel mills and paper mills. It's tough to keep his parents in town.

 To this day, the city of 51,000 owes its economic vibrancy to steel, paper, airplane parts and other assembly-line industries. AK Steel, Middletown's biggest employer with 4,000 local workers, is the steel industry's most profitable producer. More than a dozen factories chug away in the unglitzy business of making corrugated boxes, industrial toilet paper and other paper goods.

 There are a lot of businesses in Middletown that don't get a lot of play, said Larry W

Jobs abundant

 If there's anything wrong with being a factory town in 2001, it isn't readily discernible.

 The unemployment rate for the Hamilton-Middletown market was a nearly invisible 3.3 percent in August, a big improvement over the 7 percent of 1993. Plant workers at AK Steel earn an average of $60,000 a year. AK's Web site advertises jobs starting at $45,000 with all the benefits one would expect of a Fortune 500 company.

 Middletown has come a long way in toning down its blue-collar image. With its borders now stretching to I-75 and into Warren County, the economy includes a greater base of retailing, service industries and construction.

 As of August, 16.7 percent of Middletown-Hamilton's nonagricultural work force toiled in manufacturing, down from 20 percent in 1993, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time, manufacturing accounted for 18.6 percent of the state's work force, 19.1 percent of Dayton-Springfield's. Cincinnati was at 15.3 percent.

 City income tax collections also shed light on the shift away from manufacturing. Business and industry contributed 7 percent of income tax receipts in 2000, down from 11.6 percent in 1989. The rest comes from individuals and sole proprietorships.

 Andy Haney, president of Local 2258 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said the Square D closing will send even more residents out of town for work.

 I would say that's going to happen because Middletown is not really that big a place, Mr. Haney said. Other than AK Steel, it's going to be hard to find a job in town right now with the kind of wages and benefits we make here.

 Hourly workers at Square D earn an average of $35,000 to $40,000 a year, he said, and about three quarters of them live in the city. For every worker who finds employment where the local income tax rate is the same or higher, Middletown will lose a trickle of revenue.

Two Middletowns

 Middletown's growth to the east and I-75, meantime, has essentially created two Middletowns, one with the factories and dormant downtown, the other with the mall, restaurants and middle-class subdivisions. The differences will be even more pronounced in a matter of years.

 Both Bishop Fenwick High School and Middletown Regional Hospital plan to relocate toward the I-75 corridor. The moves would boost Fenwick's draw as a regional school and enhance the 310-bed hospital's ability to serve a broader market.

 The population outside of Middletown proper has been growing at double-digit rates, said Larry James, vice president and chief marketing officer for Middletown Regional Health Systems. We want to make ourselves more accessible as possible to patients from those areas.

 With the hospital alone spending $125 million and moving 1,500 employees, the city aims to move in lock step. Plans call for the annexation of nearly 400 acres near I-75, including what would become the hospital and Fenwick sites.

 Somehow, downtown boosters are optimistic.

 Central Avenue, the town's historic shopping venue, is being disinterred from a mall structure that entombed the street in 1973. A commercial disappointment, the City Centre mall wound up costing the city $500,000 a year to heat and cool. The price tag to renovate the four-block downtown sector: $13 million.

 Earl Back, a retired iron worker who has lived 60 years in Middletown, is skeptical that downtown will ever amount to much. So is Mr. Ligon, the service-station owner. To him, the abandoned Sorg Paper plant is a huge liability.

 They need to tear it down and put a casino in there, Mr. Ligon said.

Leaving the past

 Like many Rust Belt burgs, Middletown is learning how to wean itself of old, patriarchal industries.

 For about a century, the city practically owed its existence to the factories who employed its ablest men and created a flotilla of local contractors and suppliers.

 Paul Sorg, one of the richest men in America in the late 1800s, was Middletown's biggest employer and benefactor as the owner of a tobacco plant, the paper mill and a hotel. He also built the city's opera house, where locals can treat themselves to classics such as Babes in Toyland and Bizet's Carmen. Sorg's 35-room Romanesque mansion still anchors a row of elegant Victorian homes.

 George Verity took it to the next level. His American Rolling Mill Co. began steel-making operations in 1901 and made the city a nucleus of world trade. Armco helped bankroll the construction of public buildings, schools, parks, swimming pools and community centers. It sponsored countless events and civic initiatives.

 In 1961, Armco employed more than 50,000 people in 139 countries. In Middletown, its payroll approached 8,000. To many generations, it was said, Middletown was Armco.

 You name anything in town, and Armco and its employees had something to do with it, said Mr. Sennet, the city councilman. You wanted to get a school levy passed, they'd get the troops out. They built the Armco Recreation Center in the south end of town. They had a hand in expanding the hospital. They sat on boards. Every group that was worth anything in town was created by Armco.

 Today, the relationship between the city and the company is more arm's length.

 Through a series of ownership changes, Armco became AK Steel. Maintaining an active philanthropy, AK accounts for about $500,000 in corporate and employee United Way giving every year and it pledged $500,000 to Middletown Regional Hospital last year for a cardiac emergency room. It threw a 100th anniversary party for 40,000 people last year. It committed $250,000 toward the construction of soccer fields and other facilities at Jacot Park.

Not company town

 But industrial leadership and profitability and pleasing shareholders are what make AK tick.

 We recognize as the largest employer in town that we play an important role in the economic engine of the area, said AK spokesman Alan McCoy. We choose to play an appropriate role in civic direction. We're involved, but not hired to drive. We don't intend to run this town; we intend to run this company.

 AK Steel also operates in a much different regulatory environment than Armco did.

 A year ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed suit against AK Steel, accusing it of air, water and solid-waste pollution. It didn't come as news to residents of the Oneida neighborhood on AK's southern perimeter. They say soot from AK smokestacks coats their cars and homes. Not only that, they say, it stinks.

 The siding on my home is practically ruined, said Raymond Agee, a retiree who lives on Navaho Street. "I've taken to washing it by hand with an SOS pad. You can't just take a hose and wash it off. I was raised in this neighborhood, and it was never this bad.

 Clark Thompson, whose house on Seneca Street is less than a mile from the nearest AK mill, said he wears a respirator when he mows his lawn or blows leaves. He said his air-conditioning intake filters are black.

 Basically, if you live in or around AK you expect some odors, some minor fallout or soot, but it's clearly gotten increasingly unbearable in the past five years, said Mr. Thompson, general manager of a specialty machine company in Middletown. People in Middletown realize that AK Steel is vital and don't want it to suffer, but they have to be held accountable.

 AK asserts that, if anything, it has eliminated emissions substantially over the years. If the court sides with the EPA, the company could have to pay million of dollars in fines. Either way, the government is getting stricter in governing steel mill pollution, and AK Steel is looking at spending $80 million to comply.

 Mr. Wood, of the Middletown Economic Development Corp., said he knows of no instances of companies spurning Middletown because of foul air. Still, in the organization's promotional brochure, little mention is made of the town's lifeline from steel. The brochure contains not a single picture of the sprawling AK Steel plant.

 It also sidesteps the city's underperforming public schools and nagging crime rate.

 According to the Ohio Department of Education, Middletown schools failed to reach the bar on 17 of the state's 27 performance standards in the 1999-2000 school year, mostly proficiency test scores. Meanwhile, FBI statistics show the city racked up 64.3 serious crimes per 1,000 residents in 1999, or 50 percent higher than the urban Ohio and national average, yet lower than Hamilton's 78.3 per 1,000 and Dayton's 95.1 per 1,000.

On the upswing

 But city elders believe Middletown's fortunes are on the upswing. Sam Ashworth, executive director of the Middletown Historical Society, said he would like to see the city use its industrial heritage as a springboard to the future.

 "I think and I hope that the future brings some higher-tech sort of organizations to the area, Mr. Ashworth said. I can see that happening with Butler County and I do think that Middletown is in a good position for that.

 Seizing on the city's geography, Mr. Wood has resorted to pillaging companies from Cincinnati and Dayton. His agency's radio spots, touting Middletown as the heart of Southwest Ohio, beckon on stations in those cities.

 We're sitting in the middle of 2.8 million people, and there are businesses that can strategically serve their customers better from here, Mr. Wood said.

 Several companies have made the move, he said. One was Terminix International, which closed offices in Cincinnati and Dayton and consolidated its 60 employees in Middletown, said branch manager David Joles. The company provides commercial pest control in a 120-mile area from Northern Kentucky to Wapakoneta, Ohio.

Subdivisions appear

 Home buyers are buying into the concept, too. Along I-75 on Middletown's amoeba-like eastern edge, subdivisions are springing up on what used to be farmland. Homes priced at $200,000 are marketed to urban professionals who want more space.

 Middletown's greatest asset is its location, said John Sawyer, a home builder and owner of Sawyer Realtors in Middletown. The wife might work in Dayton and the husband in Cincinnati. You can be in Fountain Square in 40 minutes from Middletown, easy.

 New residents might be surprised by the amenities of their new home. Middletown has a symphony orchestra and a fine arts center, a championship golf course and a branch campus of Miami University. On the first weekend of October, it again hosted its Middfest International, a celebration of the culture and food of a different country every year, this time that of Greece.

There are still people in Cincinnati and Dayton who perceive us as being a grimy and industrial town, Mr. Sawyer said. It isn't.




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"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."—Henry David Thoreau


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 26 2018 at 8:48am
Nice find buddhalite. The article is from 2001 as noted. Having read through the article one could conclude the following:

It is clear that AK Steel isn't nearly involved in the community as Armco once was but then again, AK Steel isn't nearly the company with the wealth/success that Armco once had either. It's been run into the ground just like the city and the schools have been IMO. The leadership quality just isn't as good as it once was.

After nearly 17 years after this article was written, there is no change in the school's reputation as an undesirable, low performer with the emphasis on proficiency testing and indicator numbers. (But we were told by the past and current superintendents that there were some "new ideas" to try and new "eye opening" programs that were being implemented that would bring positive results). Hey, and don't forget the new elementary schools with a 45 million dollar price tag that was suppose to boost performance and now, the 96 million dollar price tag for the high school addition, the new middle school and the sports complexes being built.....all sold to the bond levy voter as a great deal and promising us that "new things are on the horizon"......and all the yes voters bought it hook, line and sinker. Why did you all vote for this deception?

Good paying jobs providing livable wages and disposable incomes are nowhere to be found in this city since the paper mills closed and AK/Armco took the employee numbers from 9600 in the 60's to around 2300 today. The city leaders sat on their hands and looked the other way when they saw that happening and did nothing to counter the reductions from our best employers. Watching that happen has been an incredible view of total incompetence on past and current city leader foresight. Not one of them demonstrated an ounce of recognizing any future needs the city required. They just let it happen without a whimper.

Judging by this article it appears the downtown area was dead in 2001 and, seventeen years later, is still on life support. Even with their artzy/cultural/Cincy State/coffee shop/fru fru restaurant concepts, it hasn't gotten significantly better as to interest. It is still deserted at various times of the week with minor traffic/activity in it's best situation. Isn't this a first hand indication that the efforts in the last ten years + has been a bust in attracting downtown activity? If it hasn't happened in almost 17 years of trying (with millions spent), isn't it time to change course and try something new down there? The fact that they insist that their arts focus will work after 17+ years of trying proves just how stubbornly blind these people are and, sadly, they are taking our money along for the ride.

The location between Dayton and Cincy is talked about. Actually has been talked about in minor terms long before this article was written. Middletown has always been brought up over the years as a prime location. The problem is just how incredibly ignorant past and present city leaders have been in promoting that fact. The world went by and other communities latched onto the idea in the I-75 corridor connecting corridor growth and interest with city opportunities. But no, not Middletown. They sat idly by without the slightest interest in taking advantage of our location to offer companies opportunities to locate here for corporate warehousing (P&G would have been nice but went to Dayton), research facilities (P&G closed Sharon Woods Tech Center in Blue Ash and went to Mason), corporate headquarters, car/truck parts manufacturing, plastics manufacturing operations, military, DOD and government operations, etc. Hey, we're right in the middle of it all yet we have benefited the least of any community around here to date. Why? We're a great location. Just ask the drug dealers.

Bottom line. The ball was dropped here long ago. We are just now getting a very late start in our attempt to establish some sort of progress on the job front. Waited too long city leaders.......decades too long. Why has the effort on finding this city decent paying jobs been so dormant these past decades? City leadership has simply been asleep at the wheel all this time. Sad to see.

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I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.


Posted By: buddhalite
Date Posted: Mar 26 2018 at 9:29am
This kind of look-back has to produce the same feelings in all of us as it does Viet and me.  The reality is this city has wasted the last 20 years with its proverbial head in the sand...while the rest of the area eclipsed us.  Even Franklin has done a far better job realize where their growth was coming and did all they could to make themselves business friendly - and have reaped benefits from that understanding.

We've go no jobs in this city.  Until we fix that - we've literally no hope in revitalizing our city and continuing to pour money into the Munsters Basement that is Downtown is only making it more difficult to attract real business and jobs to this city

Thought the article was a pretty interesting look back to '01 and how it seems nothing has gotten better - in fact, have only gotten worse.

The plan:

1. Jobs
2. Jobs
3. Jobs
4. Jobs

They're so important to a community that I firmly believe that jobs solve every problem by simply bringing life back to the community, giving young men busy hands (idle hands are the devil's playground), filling the city coffers and where there's some jobs - more jobs will always follow.

We're too worried about 'housing stock' which is an issue (but guess what will fix that issue?  JOBS!  Get jobs and people will build bigger, better homes.

We're too worried about houses going down the drain - we should have required bonds on these out of state no-face companies against this sort of thing to financially protect the city.

We're never going to see the east end develop until we re-zone so much of that 'residential property' that's 1000 feet from the highway off-ramp.  No one is EVER going to live there - but Starbucks and Chick-fil-a would love to have that property....and a small industrial park would bring jobs!  Snowballs chance on that one.....

There's so much more to do...and little costs us anything but it can REALLY reap us huge benefits....but then again there's a bunch of decrepit, decayed and dilapidated buildings downtown that need new facades - because we all know that the facade makes all the difference....but it's just lipstick on a pig.

Actually, lipstick on a pig is what I would describe pretty much everything our Administration does.


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"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."—Henry David Thoreau


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 27 2018 at 8:56am
wow vet--I(and MANY others) really don't want to live in the city that you envision. NO--Kohl's and Lowes aren't enough price point/brand/style variety. The coffee shops that you mention locally are thriving and continue to grow in popularity, + they draw all levels of locals together daily. They rate up there highly as to where to catch up on local happenings. Danberry theaters don't cvut it any more. Knedler's(former)Marsh is a kind effort by that organization, however many want MORE.

The former downtown area, has been(and continues to be) the largest long-term waste of $$ in local history, however history aside, is the only area of the community that seems to be improving. I find myself going there more often. DMI has been a very polarizing organization among all local business owner thinking.

Of course we need living wage sustainable jobs, though that is far easier to say than to produce. But that is where our expanded ED dept. should come in to play. Council are simply part-time bit players honestly trying to do the right thing whenever they figure out what that might be. School system--I honestly don't know what to say about it, other than the results speak very loudly.

We must become a more attractive, desirable community if we are going to draw in more "desirable" families and young starters. A very big task that involves everyone.


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 28 2018 at 6:58am
"wow vet--I(and MANY others) really don't want to live in the city that you envision."

And what we have now is better?

"NO--Kohl's and Lowes aren't enough price point/brand/style variety."

Plenty of quality items to choose from in these two stores IMO Name brand merchandise and many choices at Lowes. Probably my most favorite store in town.

"The coffee shops that you mention locally are thriving and continue to grow in popularity, + they draw all levels of locals together daily. They rate up there highly as to where to catch up on local happenings"

So the coffee shops are well attended on a daily basis downtown? What percentage of the city population would you guesstimate patronize these coffee shops? I would think they make little to no impact on the city as to interest.I would think most would go for the McD's coffee for the lower price and same quality.

"Knedler's(former)Marsh is a kind effort by that organization, however many want MORE."

Nice to see yet another business gone refilled by another grocery store. The people in that area need a grocery there. We certainly don't need more vacant buildings in town.

"The former downtown area, has been(and continues to be) the largest long-term waste of $$ in local history, however history aside, is the only area of the community that seems to be improving. I find myself going there more often. DMI has been a very polarizing organization among all local business owner thinking."

The downtown area is and has been since the old City Center Mall days, a total cluster. Millions have been spent for years and the result has been what we see today......vacant stores, shopping choices that do not have the interest of most who live here and property changing hands in favor of the city friends who seem to be unable to develop property literally given to them. The downtown has been and continues to be a money pit, white elephant of a project seemingly stuck in neutral for the most part.

"Of course we need living wage sustainable jobs, though that is far easier to say than to produce"

The ED department has had decades to make improvements on the job front. They have made, at best, snail's pace progress. Until recently, the decent paying job offerings have been non-existent for the most part. They have dropped the ball and have been ineffective for years knowing we were losing higher paying jobs in this city. Asleep at the wheel all this time.

"Council are simply part-time bit players honestly trying to do the right thing whenever they figure out what that might be"

Current and past councils have been totally ineffective in their duties to the city for the past three decades. They have produced little to nothing as to progress and have merely occupied a seat behind the council desk rubber stamping any and all things the city manager proposes. They are not dynamic nor are they individual thinkers who have the capabilities to make decisions for the betterment of the city. We all see the results of their ineptness today.

"School system--I honestly don't know what to say about it, other than the results speak very loudly."

Agree. A total disaster both academically and in sports. The educators are not any better at performing than the city leaders IMO.

"We must become a more attractive, desirable community if we are going to draw in more "desirable" families and young starters. A very big task that involves everyone."

City leaders inviting an overabundance of HUD and low income isn't helping solve the desirable community image. Neither is the drug/heroin problems we have. Some of the areas of town look like they belong in Appalachia country as well. Parts of Eaton Ave will attest to that statement. Mercy. Talk about some people who don't care what their property looks like. What a shame. That street use to be respectable decades ago. Dirt yards. Paint peeling on homes. Sheds built onto fronts of homes that look like they could fall in at any minute. No pride demonstrated here.

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I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 28 2018 at 12:43pm
No way Vet--we currently have a McD/Kohls/Lowes-type town(so you should be more satisfied!). Many want much more. Forget the coffee shops--they are simply one symptom of local change, though they are busy with a very diverse clientele.

Bottom line being:
More and more of the upper-end families are quietly selling and leaving for more attractive areas. I just learned of two very prominent families(those that donate graciously to local projects) that are planning a stealth exit. Well--two more outstanding high-end homes to be available!

This site can't seem to leave the ugly parts of our past---by now we all know a lot of negative decision-making history. Time to learn from it and leave it behind for a better future. Concentrate on what we can be instead of what we were or have become. Be part of moving forward.
Is there really any other choice?


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 28 2018 at 2:19pm
"No way Vet--we currently have a McD/Kohls/Lowes-type town(so you should be more satisfied!). Many want much more"

Who are the many you keep referring to? It can't be large numbers or even close to a majority of people living here. Knowing this is a blue collar, middle to lower income city, I would think those living here would consider Kohl's, Lowes and McD's quite affordable if not too pricey on some things.

"Forget the coffee shops--they are simply one symptom of local change, though they are busy with a very diverse clientele."

Sorry. You brought up the coffee shops in your previous post.

"More and more of the upper-end families are quietly selling and leaving for more attractive areas. I just learned of two very prominent families(those that donate graciously to local projects) that are planning a stealth exit. Well--two more outstanding high-end homes to be available!"

Alright, and just why do you think these upper end families are leaving town? Could it be that the city and the schools have been stuck on poor to mediocre as to operations and results for such a long time they have given up hope of it ever changing? That would be my best guess as to their reasons for leaving. And if this is true, who may be to blame for the long time downtrend?......surprise!!! it is and has been city and school leadership for the last four decades dictating the direction and dismal progress and city growth. They have had enough of the poor city/school environments created by the folks at One Donham Plaza and I don't blame them.

"This site can't seem to leave the ugly parts of our past---by now we all know a lot of negative decision-making history."

There's an explanation for that Spider. When you see no positive change on decision making from that "ugly past" you refer to, and you see the leaders learning nothing by past mistakes and they keep carrying on the same old failed direction with absolutely no common sense thrown into the mix, you tend to keep referring to the past as the bar to improve upon against the current goal. When that fails to happen, the "ugly past bar" stays in place as a reminder and mark to beat. To date, there is no indication that the leaders have even acknowledged mistakes of the past much less trying to make improvements for the better. Oh sure, there have been some attempts to bring decent jobs in here with the new energy company and some industrial park activity in recent years. But given the dire need to replace the paper mill and Armco downsizing numbers from decades ago, I would have expected much more than this years ago. I see no indication that the leaders are capable of changing directions despite all the bad decisions in their attempts to refill the decent wage job pipeline, enticing decent people to locate here, repairing the city's poor reputation, fixing the dam streets and infrastructure, finding actual methods that will work to fix the lousy schools and improving on town amenities in general. If it isn't working, ya gotta change the way you do it type of thing, right? Or, how about driving to the many successful towns around here and asking them how they operate. Middletown's city and school leaders just may learn a thing or two along the way. Wouldn't that be nice. There is no shame in asking for some suggestions to improve how you operate.

"Concentrate on what we can be instead of what we were or have become. Be part of moving forward.
Is there really any other choice?"

Be part of moving forward? Ok, how does one go about that? I honestly don't know how to approach the people in charge with enough confidence that they would actually listen with any interest and take me up on my suggestions. I am convinced they are locked into their game plan and plan on executing their game plan regardless of outcome or a common sense approach. I can't understand why they do the things they do most of the time. Makes no sense to me and is as illogical as it can be to me. I am also convinced that they do not want to hear from the general populace with regard to how the people want their city molded. Larry Mulligan is the poster child for disinterest in how the public thinks it ought to be. It is a "my way or the highway" type of management in the Adkins Administration. Gilleland and earlier city managers had the same attitude of citizen exclusion as well. It is an inherent culture in Middletown city government and has been for decades. You know this.


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I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 28 2018 at 3:32pm
a large majority of locals want increased variety in shopping for everything, more upper-end dining and entertainment options. This specifically is why the upper end has left and is leaving--to live somewhere with these amenities instead of driving 20 miles to appreciate such.

And when these families leave(many of them are now empty nesters), we lose quality leaders and donors affiliated with local govt., education, city boards, charities etc. The true backbone of any successful community. Blue collar can only take us so far. It is all part of a well-functioning community mix.

We are now overwhelmingly blue collar and people on support. Look at how it is playing out--we have very few qualified an



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