2016: The Year in Review, Part 2

By Martin Graham - mgraham@civitasmedia.com

The Record-Herald finishes its review of 2016 in part two with the top stories from July through December. Even though the year was full of great news, 2016 had its fair share of catastrophes and loss, including this home at 62 Jasper Coil Road, which was destroyed by fire.

The Record-Herald finishes its review of 2016 in part two with the top stories from July through December. Even though the year was full of great news, 2016 had its fair share of catastrophes and loss, including this home at 62 Jasper Coil Road, which was destroyed by fire.

As the community transitions into 2017, the Record-Herald takes time to reflect on the top stories of 2016. The first part of the review ran in Wednesday’s edition, and today’s second part will cover July through December.


In the beginning of the month, a Miami Trace Local School District kindergarten teacher was recognized by Battelle for Kids as a distinguished educator for her tremendous impact on her students, colleagues and community. Sarah Kirkpatrick was among 44 teachers from across Ohio to receive the 2016 Celebrate Teaching Distinguished Educator Award as a representative of excellence in the teaching profession. The awards were presented during a program at the “Educators Connect for Success” Conference in Columbus.

In July, authorities were seeking information regarding the theft of $40,000 worth of consumer grade fireworks from Phantom Fireworks in Bloomingburg. Investigators from the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Fire & Explosion Investigation Bureau said that suspects arrived in multiple vehicles at Phantom Fireworks, 12973 Route 38 northeast. It is believed that they then cut through a fence to gain access to the property and then cut through the semi-trailer used to store the fireworks.

Residents of Fayette Landing in Washington C.H. moved back into their apartment units on U.S. Route 22 West. Residents moved out of the building March 2 for commencement of a renovation project. The single room apartments are in the former Fayette Inn and are managed through the Fayette County Community Action Commission and WODA as a solution to long-term homelessness. The Fayette Landing was known previously as the Fayette Inn. The name was changed to Fayette Landing as part of a jointly-managed project between CAC Fayette County and WODA. This project includes the building of a new facility on the corner of Rawlings and Delaware streets, also to be called Fayette Landing. Both of these facilities are single-room occupancy for permanent housing to single adults who face chronic homelessness.

In July the Record-Herald reported that tons of solid waste and thousands of rats that lived and nested around an unlicensed landfill in Washington C.H. were removed. Cartwright Salvage, Inc., 839 Bogus Road, was indicted by a Fayette County grand jury a year after a 25-foot tall by 50-foot long pile of household garbage caught fire April 21, 2015, and took nearly 10 hours to extinguish. Investigators said the site didn’t have an operating license. Following the investigation, the Fayette County Health Department applied for $100,000 through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental protection remediation fund.

A 17-year-old Washington C.H. youth was killed in a one-vehicle crash on State Route 729 in Jefferson Township in July. At approximately 12:53 a.m., a 2007 Pontiac G6 driven by Jordan T. Fall was heading south on State Route 729 when the vehicle traveled off the right side of the roadway in the 14000 block, according to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. “In an attempt to take corrective action, Fall lost control of the vehicle and traveled off the left side of the roadway, striking a tree and mailbox before coming to rest,” said Stanforth. Fall was reportedly not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle after striking the tree. He was critically injured in the crash and was transported from the scene by Med-Flight helicopter to the OSU Wexner Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

Bethany Reiterman was crowned as the 2016 Fayette County Fair Queen during the Opening Ceremony at the McDonald’s Grandstand. Reiterman said she was excited to have been crowned and was looking forward to the full week of fair events that she, and the court, got to cover.

Also in July, a father and son were charged with the murder of an unidentified man who was found Wednesday evening at an apartment complex in the small community of Yatesville, near Bloomingburg. German Posadas-Cruz, 49, and German Cruz, 30, were both being held at an undisclosed jail in Illinois on an unclassified felony of murder. The identity of the victim was Venancio Garcia-Arquimides, 42, of Bloomingburg.

The owner of Cartwright Salvage, Inc. plead guilty to illegal disposal of solid waste by open dumping. Loren A. Cartwright, of Washington Court House, owns the automobile salvage and garbage removal company, located at 839 Bogus Road. The 80-year-old was indicted by a Fayette County grand jury after a 25-foot tall by 50-foot long pile of household garbage caught fire at the site April 21, 2015, and took nearly 10 hours to extinguish.

Fayette County community members were showing more resistance to a proposed hog farrowing facility that would be built on a 20-acre site on Jones Road. Neighbors to the proposed facility worked on letters, meetings, and yard signs. Initiated by concerned residents of Paint and Madison townships, the plan was to address the impact a 2,400-hog farrowing facility would have on the county and the residents who live closest to the proposed site.


In early August, a local young man celebrated his 18th birthday by continuing to be considerate of others and decided to donate more money to the American Red Cross. Jimmy Clark decided to continue his streak of donations to the American Red Cross as part of his birthday celebration. Clark has been donating to the Red Cross since he was 12-years-old, when he brought $8 to the local branch. He has continually donated every year, even multiple times a year, to continue funding clean water for poor countries. This culminated in his largest donation to the organization when he delivered $100 to the Red Cross office at the Washington Fire Department to celebrate his 18th birthday.

Two Montgomery County men were arrested after leading deputies on a car chase that began in Washington C.H. and ended in the Village of Leesburg. Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Adam Rummer made a traffic stop on Temple Street near North Main Street in Washington C.H. after observing traffic violations, according to Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. The driver of the 2007 Lincoln MK4 was identified as Richard C. Armstrong, 32, of Dayton. During the traffic stop, a clear plastic baggie was observed in the passenger door of the vehicle, according to Rummer. The passenger in the vehicle was identified as Jerry L. Walther, 57, of Dayton. Rummer said that while attempting to retrieve the baggie, Armstrong put the vehicle into drive and fled at a high rate of speed with Rummer and other sheriff’s deputies giving chase on Eyman Park Drive toward the Lakeview Avenue area.

A Washington C.H. band that placed highly in a world-wide competition performed a series of their own original songs during Eddie’s Run. Cameron Hartshorn, a Washington C.H. resident, has always been musically talented, taking top honors at many singing competitions. He put this talent to a different use when he and several others formed a band, the Cameron Chase Band. Hartshorn wanted to get the most out of the band that he could and decided, thanks to urging from his father, Ed Hartshorn, to perform an original piece and submit it to the Unsigned Only Music Competition.

What began as a drug investigation quickly became a high-speed vehicle pursuit, a fiery crash and finally, the apprehension of two suspects. While watching a suspected drug house, a Washington C.H. Police Department officer saw a gray Mitsubishi four-door with Ohio temporary tags parked at the home. The officer said he had information that Dustin Leisure and Ashley Lowe were driving in a similar vehicle with temporary tags, reports said. The vehicle departed after being at the home for approximately five minutes. It then went eastbound through an alley onto Church Street toward Washington Avenue.

In an effort to honor local athletes, every week this past football season the Record-Herald published an “Athletes of the Week” feature, sponsored by Janice Gardner’s Point Realty, LLC. One standout player from each local school district, Miami Trace and Washington C.H., were featured on the weekly Black ‘N Blue page based on their performances from the previous Friday night football games.

A motorcycle accident claimed the life of a Mt. Sterling man on U.S. 62 northeast near the intersection of Cook-Yankeetown Road in Madison Township. At 4:22 p.m., David A. Miller, 59, was riding a 2006 Harley-Davidson Sportster southbound on U.S. 62 and lost control of the vehicle, according to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. The motorcycle traveled off the right side of the roadway into the ditch, where it struck a large stone protruding from the ground. Miller was ejected as the vehicle came to rest in the southbound lane of U.S. 62. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Fayette County Coroner Dr. Dennis Mesker.


Months of effort culminated in a large groundbreaking ceremony for Miami Trace as the district prepares to build a new school for its high school students by 2019. The student body, faculty, guests, administration, school board and many others joined the Miami Trace Local School District for its groundbreaking ceremony at the track at the current high school. The event opened with the “fight song” performed by the Miami Trace High School Marching Band under the direction of Ken Hoffman. The Miami Trace Symphonic Choir, under the direction of Holly Stanley, also performed, welcoming the crowd with the National Anthem. Pastor Bruce Morrison led the invocation.

One Fayette County Sheriff’s Office deputy returned the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program to Miami Trace Local Schools while also serving as full-time campus safety officer. Campus safety officer Adam Greenlee began teaching fifth grade students the D.A.R.E. program. According to the Ohio D.A.R.E. website, the D.A.R.E. program is an internationally-recognized, model program created in 1983 by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District. D.A.R.E. provides students from kindergarten through high school with the skills necessary to recognize and resist pressures to experiment with drugs and to avoid gangs and violence. Lessons emphasize self-esteem, decision-making, interpersonal communications skills, the consequences of drug abuse, conflict resolution and positive alternatives to substance abuse.

The new Fayette County Memorial Hospital CEO, Mike Diener, was beginning to shape his idea of the future of FCMH and shared part of his vision in September on how he plans to get there. Diener started with an introduction of himself when he sat down with the Record-Herald. The father of five explained, in brief, his education background and talked about how he ended up in the county. Diener said he was familiar with Fayette County and FCMH from his career as a physical therapist. He worked at the Greenfield Area Medical Center back in the 1990s and at one point, around 1994 or 1995, worked with Fayette County Memorial’s Home Health Unit as a contract therapist.

In September, Timofei Rudas, a law student at the Russian Academy of International Trade (Law Faculty), visited Washington Court House while on a capstone trip to the United States to learn about the American judicial system. Rudas toured the Washington Court House Municipal Court, the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas, and met the Fayette County Commissioners. Rudas’s visit gave him the opportunity to see court in full swing and he witnessed a couple of proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas.

For the first time in years, the sight of amusement rides, the smell of festival food and the roar of a crowd took over downtown Washington Court House as the Scarecrow Festival returned. The 2016 Scarecrow Festival officially opened with a short opening ceremony. Organizers said that there was plenty to do at the three-day festival this year. With a plethora of food options, fun carnival games and rides, music at the main stage and vendors galore, they said they hope there is a little bit of something for everyone. The headline entertainer of the festival was country music superstar and record producer, Aaron Tippin.

Dr. Jeri (Boylan) Milstead was inducted into the Washington Court House City Schools’ Academic Hall of Fame on Sept. 19 at The Club at Quail Run. Milstead is an internationally-known expert in public policy and the politics of health care. She is the editor and senior author of “Health Policy and Politics: A Nurse’ Guide,” fifth edition, that is sold in 21 countries and six of seven continents (sixth edition in process), and “Handbook of Nursing Leadership: Creative Skills for a Culture of Safety.”

The Fayette County Commissioners voted unanimously to pursue an application to establish a parks and recreation district for the county. “We had the public meeting on September 6 and we had, at least from my notes, 22 different people speak out that evening,” commissioner Dan Dean said. “All were in favor, and we also had two entities speak in favor. The board of developmental disabilities director spoke and Leigh Cannon, from the health department, also came out to speak. In lieu of public support at that meeting, I think that is enough evidence for this office to advance the application to the probate judge.”


Police were asking for assistance in identifying the man responsible for an armed robbery of Thompson’s Depot in Washington C.H. A man who appeared to be wearing a red handkerchief over his face and a hat entered Thompson’s Depot, located at 212 E. Elm St. According to police, the offender brandished a handgun and demanded the clerk give him the money from the register.

A husband and wife from South Salem were killed in a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Snowhill Road and Greenfield-Sabina Road in Fayette County. At approximately 5:50 p.m., Peggy R. Lightle, 62, was driving a 2002 Jeep Liberty eastbound on Greenfield-Sabina Road with her husband, 60-year-old Martin E. Lightle, Jr., in the passenger seat. A 2015 Toyota Tacoma, operated by Jacob S. Tyree, 24, of New Vienna, was heading southbound on Snowhill Road.

In October, after a few years of working on the Historic Washington Middle School Auditorium, an “Organ Restoration Dedication Concert” was held to commemorate all of the efforts put into the facility. “This is the dedication concert that we were going to hold when the organ was finished and now that it is finished, this is our opportunity to have the community come and listen to the restored organ,” Pam Feick said. “Not only are we inviting the community, we are going to invite representatives who helped to get the funding in the state’s budget.”

A Washington C.H. man who hauled municipal waste for thousands of Fayette Countians and illegally dumped it for seven years on land at Bogus Road was sentenced in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas. Loren A. Cartwright, 80, was sentenced on count one of the indictment to one year of community control, was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to Fayette County, and was ordered to pay $84,486.69 in restitution to the State of Ohio for the benefit of the Environmental Protection Remediation Fund. Cartwright plead guilty in July to illegal disposal of solid waste by open dumping, an unclassified felony.

Dedicated on Oct. 23, 1966, the Fayette County Airport, 2770 State Route 38, was honored for 50 years of service to the community by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. Currently under the direction of airport manager Jerry Van Dyke, the airport has a long history of growth and expansion to meet the community’s needs. Constructed in 1966 on county-owned land, the airport was part of the State of Ohio plan to have a county airport in every Ohio county.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman visited Washington C.H. to tour the proposed site for a men’s residential treatment facility on Robinson Road. The proposed site is the Union Township fire house that was being used as a storage space for the Washington Court House Fire Department’s equipment. The Faith in Recovery Coalition, a group of Fayette County community leaders, has been working together to turn the space into a residential treatment center for men struggling with opioid dependency and addiction. Portman toured the old fire house, where up to 15 men at one time would be able to live at the residential treatment facility once the project is completed, according to Dale Lynch, chairman of Washington C.H. City Council.

To end the month, the Record-Herald completed and published a three-day series on the heroin epidemic and its impact. The staff covered a variety of topics including rehab success stories, treatment options and how the drug is being dealt with in the criminal world. Discussions with area residents, victims and other people added to in-depth research into the world of this growing drug problem.


Beginning in November, a Ross County man accused of fatally shooting two people in west Columbus was arrested in Fayette County. According to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, the Columbus Police Department alerted his office to the reported double homicide and provided the identity of a person of interest. Columbus police indicated that during the course of their investigation, information was received that the person of interest, identified as John C. Henry, 48, of Clarksburg, was possibly traveling to the Deer Creek area. Law enforcement agencies surrounding the Deer Creek area were alerted to be on the lookout for a red Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck driven by Henry.

The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce named Kerry “Termite” Bell the grand marshal for the 2016 Holiday parade scheduled in downtown Washington Court House. “The honor of being recognized as Washington Court House’s grand marshal is a mere token of a community’s appreciation and affection to a worthy citizen, Kerry “Termite” Bell,” read just one of the several nominations received for Bell. Accolades were unanimous that Bell was worthy of the honor for his 50-plus years of service to the community.

After a New Holland home caught fire and destroyed the structure, officials were continuing to investigate the cause. According to an incomplete report from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) and early reports from the Pic-A-Fay Joint Fire District, the home of Clinton D. Jarrell, at 424 W. Front Street in New Holland, suffered extensive damage. The fire, which began shortly before 7 p.m. according to reports, lasted for a couple of hours.

Friends, family and guests of the Carnegie Public Library joined in a dedication to the late library director, Poppy Girton. Poppy Girton was born April 18, 1951, in Columbus to B. Dustin and Martha Edna Poppy Girton. She was a 1969 graduate of Washington Senior High School and graduated summa cum laude in 1973 from the Ohio State University with a bachelor of arts degree with a dual major in anthropology and psychology, and was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She also earned a master of library science and information science degree from Kent State University in 2002. Girton passed away in May of 2015.

A man was sentenced to four years in prison for driving drunk and causing a 2015 traffic crash that killed Washington Court House man, William “Billy” Rankin. Jason B. Woolley, 39, of Washington Court House, plead guilty in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas to aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Woolley was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer southbound on State Route 41 North in Jefferson Township at approximately 2:30 a.m. March 14, 2015. According to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, Jesse Allen Jr., 49, of Hermitage, Tenn., was driving a 2015 Freightliner semi-tractor trailer and was pulling out of the parking lot of the Flying J truck stop onto State Route 41 North when Woolley’s Trailblazer struck the semi-trailer as it crossed both lanes of State Route 41.


There is no doubt that the county has an important agricultural history, but the one thing that is arguably more important than its history? Its future. One Miami Trace graduate has embraced the calling from agriculture and is on the stepping stones of the future for the industry. Natalie Miller, a 2015 graduate of Miami Trace High School, has since left Fayette County in her journey toward helping farmers realize their maximum potential. But even an up-and-coming agriculture guru had to start somewhere. “I grew up on a corn and soybean farm, and I had always been around agriculture,” Miller said. “I was involved in 4-H, took sewing projects and showed feeder calves. It wasn’t until high school that I became very interested in agriculture as a career.”

While Hospice of Fayette County celebrated National Hospice Month, the organization also celebrated the hire of a new marketing and fundraising coordinator, Carolyn Moore. Moore lives in Circleville and recently became engaged. She graduated from Wilmington College with a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in marketing in late 2013, and after graduation, worked for a golf club in Columbus marketing events. She soon expanded to weddings and other small corporate/business events. When she moved, she gained some experience in the restaurant business in Circleville while working on marketing, as well as private party room events, for a company there. “I then came to Hospice and my first day was November 7,” Moore said. “I love it so far, it is everything I hoped it would be and more. It is exactly what I was looking for and I think that this position is going to be extremely rewarding. Now I can give back every single day at work and I know that my efforts are going toward something that is very helpful and making a difference in someone’s life.”

Dr. James D. Polk, a Washington C.H. native, was named the new NASA Chief Health and Medical Officer. He succeeds Dr. Richard Williams who has held the position since 2001. Dr. Williams will remain at NASA for the immediate future, where his extensive experience will be used to lead an effort toward a framework on human systems integration and evaluating the needs of future technical authority. “Rich has led the agency’s medical community since the early days of crews on the International Space Station and the final decade of the Space Shuttle Program, and we’re fortunate he’ll still be helping the agency with the initial steps on our human journey to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “JD’s (Polk) unique blend of proven clinical ability, medical management experience at the highest federal levels and operational space medicine expertise make him ideal to lead NASA’s healthcare system as the agency continues its mission of exploration.”

A one-vehicle accident claimed the life of a Madison County resident on State Route 41 Northwest near the intersection of Carrs Mills-Jamestown Road in northwest Fayette County. A 2007 Ford F-150 pickup truck, driven by Lindsey A. James-Lochbihler, 32, of South Solon, was heading northwest on State Route 41 when she lost control of the vehicle, according to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. The vehicle went off the right side of the roadway into the ditch and rolled over several times before coming to rest across the southbound lane of State Route 41. Lochbihler was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Fayette County Coroner’s Office, Stanforth said.

The Washington C.H. City Council accepted the resignation of Trent Dye after it was reported by the Record-Herald that the former council member is the subject of a civil lawsuit accusing him of defrauding his former employer of nearly $400,000. In a letter dated Friday, Dec. 9 – the same day Dye was called by the Record-Herald for comment – Dye wrote to Dale Lynch, city council chair: “It is with great regret that circumstances have arisen requiring me to resign my seat on the Washington CH City Council effective immediately. I wish everyone the best of luck.” The civil suit alleges Dye defrauded Paramount Freight Systems, LLC, in Jeffersonville of almost $400,000 over a three-and-a-half year period.

The Well at Sunnyside has experienced amazing growth in its short seven-year existence and named its first executive director to oversee its continued growth. To help chart and implement its new direction, the BOD has installed its first executive director, Jon R. Creamer, to serve in this new part-time position. His main role will be to oversee the daily operations, lead the board in its new role, and to implement the new discipleship model at The Well. This will be familiar territory for Creamer, who has decades of proven experience in school administration and as church pastor for more than 20 years. He has served on the BOD at The Well since its inception and currently is a school board member for the local schools.

The Record-Herald thanks its readers for the continued support and look forward to a busy and better year as its staff moves on to the news of 2017.

The Record-Herald finishes its review of 2016 in part two with the top stories from July through December. Even though the year was full of great news, 2016 had its fair share of catastrophes and loss, including this home at 62 Jasper Coil Road, which was destroyed by fire.
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2017/01/web1_IMG_1088.jpgThe Record-Herald finishes its review of 2016 in part two with the top stories from July through December. Even though the year was full of great news, 2016 had its fair share of catastrophes and loss, including this home at 62 Jasper Coil Road, which was destroyed by fire.

By Martin Graham


Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy