YEAR IN REVIEW: Key local stories from July-August


This is Part 4 of a six-part series looking back at just a few of the key stories in the pages of the Record-Herald throughout 2022.


Queen’s Tea held

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE (July 2) — The 2022 edition of the Queen’s Tea was held Thursday, June 30 at the Mahan Building on the Fayette County Fairgrounds. The three candidates running for 2022 Fayette County Fair Queen are graduates of Miami Trace High School: Libby Aleshire, Hidy Kirkpatrick, and Abbie Brandt.

Fayette County Agricultural Society President Bob Schwartz spoke a few words about the event. “I certainly want to wish all the queens the best of luck, this is always an exciting evening. I think we’ve got two real fine judges and I think they are going to do a great job.”

The judges for this year’s event are Michelle Callahan and Sandy Kuhn.

Callahan is currently the community relations manager for the Pickaway County Library. Kuhn is currently a farm manager for Farmers National Company.

Each candidate was asked to grab a question from the bulletin board, read it aloud to the crowd, and then answer it. Libby Aleshire was the first candidate to speak. Her question was: Besides your parents, who is or was your Junior Fair superhero? Talk about what qualities or experiences make this individual unique.

FCSO: No confirmed tornado

PAINT TOWNSHIP (July 7) — The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office received a call Wednesday afternoon about a possible tornado touchdown in the northern part of the county. The alleged sighting was in the area of I-71 at mile marker 76 near State Route 38, however no tornado was confirmed.

When asked about the call that came in about a reported tornado and other storm activity throughout the day, Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said, “The source was credible; it was an off-duty state law enforcement officer passing through. That adds some credibility to the call, but we still didn’t actually see anything.”

Stanforth spoke about potential damage from the storm.

“We’ve had some damage that’s been located, but not indicative of a tornado. We’ve got a tree down on Blue Road in Paint Township, and then in Pancoastburg we had what appears to be a lightning strike on a tree, but it wasn’t tornadic damage. It didn’t appear to be at least.”

Man sentenced in child porn case

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE (July 8) — A 30-year-old Washington C.H. man who pleaded guilty to 10 child pornography-related charges has been sent to prison for four years and 11 months.

As part of an agreement with the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office, Harley E. Everhart II, of 1100 Country Club Court, entered a guilty plea to 10 fifth-degree felony counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.

On June 27 in Fayette County Common Pleas Court, Everhart II was sentenced to prison and was designated as a Tier 1 sex offender. A Tier 1 sex offender must register with authorities once a year for a term of 15 years.

At his sentencing hearing, Everhart II was notified that post-release control is mandatory in this case for a period of five years.

The case stemmed from a March 12, 2021 complaint of possible pornography involving a child on the computer of one of the residents at 1100 Country Club Court. The complainant told a Washington C.H. Police Department officer that she lives with Everhart II at the residence and he informed her how to access his computer.

Plans for new Jeffersonville Community Library underway

JEFFERSONVILLE (July 9) — Jeffersonville officials and residents recently took another step in creating a new community library within the village.

Jim Downing, the president of the Jeffersonville Community Library Board, and Jeffersonville Mayor Bob Kinzer met at the village offices last Friday to sign the deed to the building that will house the new library, located at 4 N. Main St.

“The village has agreed to supply the water and sewer to the library,” Downing said. “We still have to do the upgrades, but we couldn’t do anything until we signed on the line. We are hoping to get more donations in once the public realizes that we do own the building now.”

In 2020, the Carnegie Library branch in the Village of Jeffersonville closed due to COVID-related reasons and didn’t reopen. The village then assumed control of the library building, and last fall, village council decided to move the village offices to the library building.

A group of citizens felt there was a need for a community library in Jeffersonville, a petition was started, and a board was formed.

Cornhole tournament billed ‘crowd favorite’

JEFFERSONVILLE (July 13) — Destination Outlets held the ACO Pro Invitational Cornhole Tournament on Saturday at 8000 Factory Shops Blvd in Jeffersonville.

The top eight professional cornhole players competed for $7,500 in prize money. Kaleb Hurt from Criglersville, Virginia took home first place and $3,000 in prize money.

During the event spectators were able to cheer on their favorite players, participate in amateur cornhole, order delicious food from World Piece and grab a beverage from Tap Truck Cincinnati.

“Next year we hope to expand on the amateur cornhole as this was a crowd favorite,” said a spokesperson for Destination Outlets.

24 from Fayette County attend Buckeye Boys and Girls State

FAYETTE COUNTY (July 15) — Twenty-four young women and men from Fayette County who will be seniors this upcoming school year recently experienced attending Buckeye Boys State and Buckeye Girls State.

A dinner was held July 6 at the American Legion Post 25 to recognize these future leaders.

Washington C.H. Municipal Court Judge Victor Pontious addressed the audience, stressing the point of how important local government is in our society.

Pontious, himself an attendee of Buckeye Boys State when he was a junior in high school, spoke to the crowd, especially to the young people, reiterating his belief in the importance of local government.

After the meal, the young people who were able to attend the dinner (12 in all) each took a turn at the podium, telling of their experience at Buckeye Boys and Buckeye Girls State.

Aleshire named fair queen

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE (July 19) — Libby Aleshire was crowned the 2022 Fayette County Fair Queen at the fair’s opening celebration ceremony July 17.

After she was crowned by 2021 Fayette County Fair Queen Garren Walker, Aleshire spoke about her fair experience and how much becoming queen means to her. Aleshire is a Miami Trace High School graduate and serves as president of Fayette Farm Life 4-H club. She has been in 4-H for eight years and has been on the junior fair board for three years where she was elected as the 2022 vice president.

During her time in 4-H, Aleshire has held various commodity queen titles, including 2018 Fayette County Meat Goat Ambassador, 2019 Fayette County Small Animals Queen, and 2020 Fayette County Swine Queen.

In school, she was a member of the National Honor Society, FFA, Youth Drug Prevention Coalition, and student government. Also, Aleshire was a member of the varsity girls basketball, track, and golf teams where she has acted as a leader for the past four years.

“It is such an honor to be chosen as the Fayette County Fair Queen, but I wouldn’t be here today without the help and love of so many individuals,” Aleshire said.

Hidy Kirkpatrick was selected as the 2022 Fayette County First Attendant and Abigail Brandt was chosen as the 2022 Fayette County Fair Attendant.

Community rallies around Lewis

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE (July 23) — Thursday, July 21 at the Fayette County Fair proved to be an emotional, yet uplifting evening during the Junior Fair Livestock Sale.

Gary Lewis stepped into the ring to sell his hog, like every other child would do. What Gary didn’t know was the outpouring of support that he would receive from the community in the moments to follow.

The Miami Trace Elementary School student was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in January of 2021.

The auction Thursday began at $5,000, with several bidders going back and forth. The bidding stopped at $13,600, then the auctioneer Chris Cottrill addressed the crowd.

“Everyone else that is interested, if you want to hold up your bidder number, we’ll write it down and put another $100 onto it.”

Nearly 60 businesses and community members proceeded to pledge an additional $100 donation each, bringing the total into the ballpark of $20,000.

Rivers Trot highlights fair

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE (July 26) — There were two cards of harness racing at the 2022 Fayette County Fair, including the inaugural Charles and Ronald Rivers Memorial Trot.

There were 11 races on Wednesday, July 20 with two track records being broken.

“Wednesday night I thought we had a wonderful program,” Fayette County Agricultural Society President and veterinarian Dr. Bob Schwartz said. “Congrats to our track crew. They had the track in perfect condition.

“We broke the track record on the trot and the track record on the pace,” Schwartz said. “They did a great job.”

Nuclear Dragon, driven by Jeremy Smith, set the new pace record at the track, winning the McKinley Kirk Signature Series Pace with a time of 1:54.3.

The winner of the Charles and Ronald Rivers Signature Series Trot, Lane Of Stone, driven by Jeff Nisonger, set the new trot mark of 1:58.2.

The purse for the race was $12,500, which was the largest purse in the state of Ohio for Signature Series harness racing.

Johnson wins ‘Showman of Showmen’

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE (July 26) — The annual Fayette County Junior Fair Showman of Showmen competition was held last Saturday afternoon with Madison Johnson taking the top prize.

Johnson — who won Overall Horse Showman on Thursday — is the daughter of Heath and Christy and has two younger sisters. This was her 10th and final year in 4-H where she has shown horses, beef feeders, sheep and hogs. Johnson has also been a member of the Junior Fair Board for four years.

Outside of 4-H, Madison shows her quarter horse regularly, is a recent graduate of Miami Trace High School and will be attending Wilmington College majoring in ag business in the fall. She took time following the competition to talk about her efforts for the last five years to claim the title of Showman of Showmen.

The top showmen at the Fayette County Junior Fair from each animal show is represented in the Showman of Showmen competition.

Wines wins big at national rodeo

PERRY, GEORGIA (July 27) — Clay Wines, an eighth grade student at Fayette Christian School, finished in the top 10 in the nation in the “1st Go-Round in Boys Breakaway Roping” during the 17th-annual National Junior High Finals Rodeo (NJHFR) in Perry, Ga.

Wine was one of approximately 200 entries in the breakaway roping category. The week of June 19-25, he competed in the team roping, ribbon roping, chute dogging, breakaway and light rifle competitions.

Featuring roughly 1,200 contestants from 43 US states, five Canadian provinces, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand, the NJHFR is the world’s largest junior high rodeo. In addition to competing for more than $80,000 in prizes, NJHFR contestants also competed for more than $200,000 in college scholarships and the chance to be named a National Junior High Finals Rodeo World Champion.


Woman rescued from fire

FAYETTE COUNTY (Aug. 5) — An elderly, bed-ridden woman was rescued by local first responders from a fire inside of her US 22 West home on Thursday afternoon, according to authorities.

The fire at 5461 US 22 West was reported at 3:12 p.m. and was contained to the basement, according to authorities. Although it was a small fire, it created a large amount of smoke that permeated the residence.

“Responders were able to remove the female from the residence safely and she was being observed by EMS,” Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said shortly after she was rescued. “She was found in a back bedroom. She suffered no apparent trauma or injury. After she was removed from the home, firefighters were able to investigate where the fire was coming from.”

The fire was reportedly extinguished before 4 p.m. As of Thursday afternoon, it was unknown if the woman was being transported to the hospital.

DORA in WCH awaiting state approval

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE (Aug. 13) — Approximately 63.22 acres. That’s how much space the new DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) will be allotted in downtown Washington Court House if the application is approved by the state.

The proposal has already passed through its third and final Washington C.H. City Council reading with a 4-2 favorable vote from the council.

Essentially, a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area is a specified location in which individuals are able to purchase alcohol from businesses selling it legally and can then take the alcoholic beverage outside the business to visit other locations within the DORA.

The current proposed DORA for Washington C.H. has an area marked around downtown in a “minimal residential area,” according to officials. The DORA would be highly regulated, according to officials.

The new ordinance has stirred a lot of controversy within the city. Many support the idea of having a DORA, while some oppose it as well.

Former police officer sent to prison for rape

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE (Aug. 23) — A former police officer was recently sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to the rape of a 13-year-old boy.

David Brown, 68, of 422 Gibbs Ave., entered a plea of guilty on Aug. 15 to two counts of first-degree felony rape as part of a plea agreement with the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office. The state dismissed one count of rape and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Brown was a police officer with the Washington Police Department from 1979-1986, according to city records.

“We could prove two of the counts of rape without the child testifying, but proving the remaining count would have required the child to testify,” said Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade. “To keep the child from having to testify, we thought this was the best solution. This sentence is effectively a life sentence when considering the defendant’s age.”

According to the grand jury indictment, the sexual conduct occurred between Feb. 1 and Feb. 28 and on May 29. The crimes occurred at Brown’s residence, according to Weade.

21-year-old woman killed in crash

JASPER TOWNSHIP (Aug. 24) — A 21-year-old Washington C.H. woman was killed and two others were injured Monday in a three-vehicle crash at the intersection of State Route 729 and State Route 435 in Fayette County.

Laralyn Lebeau was pronounced dead at the scene following the accident in Jasper Township, according to the Wilmington Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP).

At approximately 5:36 p.m. Monday, Allison Rapp, 23, of Woodstock, Ohio, was driving a 2021 Mazda CX-30 northbound on State Route 729, according to the OSHP preliminary investigation. Rapp reportedly failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection and struck a 2019 Hyundai Sonata that was heading east on State Route 435.

The Hyundai, driven by Lebeau, then traveled left of center and was struck by a westbound Chevrolet Avalanche, driven by Robyn Wise, 54, of Sabina, according to the OSHP.

Rapp was treated at the scene for her injuries and Wise was transported by medical helicopter with non-life threatening injuries, according to reports.

WCHCS restoring a historic auditorium

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE (Aug. 27) — The site of the Historic Washington Auditorium is currently under construction as part of the ongoing capital improvement projects within the Washington Court House City School (WCHCS) district.

WCHCS Superintendent Dr. Tom Bailey recently spoke about the auditorium.

“Our goal ever since I got here was to fix up the auditorium and restore it back to its glory days in terms of appearance and functionality,” said Bailey. “So, we’ve been very fortunate over the past several years to receive small capital improvement grants through the state legislature. We did receive them a couple of years ago. Right when COVID started we did receive $325,000 for improvements there, and we are fortunate enough to receive another $300,000 for this current biennium, so that’s a little over a half million dollars for improvements there. One of our major obstacles at the auditorium was just the enormity of that entire complex that we own and the fact that the good majority of that complex we were not utilizing, and it has sat vacant since our schools were built back in 2010.”

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