By Nathan Pilling
XENIA — Many plans were laid for the future in Greene County over the last year. Below you’ll find a countdown of the biggest stories in 2015 at the county level:
Honorable mentions, quick hits:
-The Hope Spot of Greene County, a center for those recovering from an addiction or a mental disorder, opened in Xenia in July. The center provides a setting for recovery meetings (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.) and impromptu gatherings of recovering individuals.
-The Greene County Career Center announced plans this summer to take the lead on studying the feasibility of establishing an aerospace institute to train youths and adults for careers in the aerospace industry.
-Greene County Commissioners sold the historic Alpha Group Home to the Jeff Schmitt Auto Group in May. The home was sold as U.S. Route 35 expansion plans ramped up, as the county moved away from the children’s congregational living program that was previously housed there and as county officials saw the need for extensive repairs at the home.
5. No birds. State officials banned poultry exhibitions in June as a measure to prevent the spread of avian flu into Ohio. Because of the ban, the poultry hall at the 2015 Greene County Fair lacked the sights and sounds typical of most years at the fair. Those who had planned to exhibit live birds instead showed posters that represented their animals. State agriculture officials recently lifted the ban on bird exhibitions, so the live birds could return to the 2016 fair.
4. Oink. Hundreds of piglets were left wandering just outside of Xenia in June after a tractor-trailer hauling about 2,200 of the animals crashed on the U.S. Route 35 bypass. The forested area near the crash site was filled with squeals from the animals in the days after the crash while Greene County deputies rounded up the animals. Just a few days after the incident, which garnered national attention, a prankster set up three houses – made of straw, sticks and bricks – near the crash site.
3. The bench. Former Greene County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Hutcheson retired at the end of May. Hutcheson was the first individual to serve in the office in 1994 and was re-elected by Greene County voters in 2000, 2006 and 2012. Governor Kasich appointed Adolfo Tornichio to fill the remainder of Hutcheson’s term. Tornichio was sworn in as judge in September.
2. Flying ahead. The Greene County Airport was the center of some major changes and plans in 2015. The airport’s board hired former local business owner and aviation enthusiast Dave Kushner to serve as the facility’s manager after former manager Don Smith stepped down from the position. Smith left the role after about 10 years of service to take the manager position at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. Throughout the year plans were ramped up on a number of projects at the airport: a runway resurfacing project planned to begin May 2, 2016, as well as the addition of a large ramp and three new hangars (the first of which is planned for 2016). Greene County Commissioners appropriated an additional $1.3 million in the county’s 2016 budget for airport projects.
1. Adult Detention Center. County officials laid plans to fully re-open the Greene County Adult Detention Center in 2016 in response to growing heroin and opiate addiction trends. About $1.3 million has been appropriated in the county’s 2016 budget for the project, and plans are moving ahead for the opening. Two pods from the detention center were closed in 2009 due to budget cuts. The additional funds would re-open those sections.