Enquirer reporters Rachel Richardson and Sheila McLaughlin became surrogate moms for 10 ducklings Friday afternoon after a gold SUV plowed down the mother duck and an 11th duckling crossing Cox Road.
Richardson witnessed the tragedy near the entrance of Voice of America Park, stopped her car in the middle of the dangerous high-speed road and herded the remaining ducklings safely to a grassy area across the road.
“He was doing at least 50 mph. Plowing down ducks has to be crime – if not a legal one, an ethical one,” said Richardson, who works with animal rescue groups for cats and rabbits.
The 11th duckling was found under the mother with what appeared to be a broken neck. The mother duck flew off. Her leg was broken in half and was bent sideways.
McLaughlin and Richardson rounded up the 10 ducklings after raiding their editor Bill Cieslewicz’s office for a box and searching for the mother in a marshy thicket along the side of Cox Road.
The mother duck could not be found.
The surviving ducklings will be turned over to Animal Hospital on Mount Lookout Square, which recommended rescuing the ducklings because their mother could not be found. They will be transferred to a wildlife rehabilitator.
Cool Jazz ‘n’ Hotcakes breakfast – Jazz will be on the menu for the Lakota East High School’s Cool Jazz ‘n’ Hotcakes breakfast. From 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, the school’s Eastside Café will be open to the community for a morning of jazz performances by Lakota junior and senior high school musicians. Listen to five different ensembles while munching on pancakes and sausage cooked by parents and served by teens. Admission is $6 for all the food you can eat.
Karen Moeller, who taught 17 years at Adena Elementary, passed away June 18, 2011 at her Liberty Township home. Photo provided.
Karen Moeller Scholarship Fun Run – Two summers ago, the Lakota community lost a loved one when longtime teacher Karen Moeller passed away. Members of the community honored the elementary school teacher by creating the Karen Moeller Scholarship Fun Run/Walk, which will take place for the second consecutive year in May at Voice of America Park. This year’s event will take place Saturday and will begin at 9 a.m. around the lake at VOA Park.
Plant sale and open house at Hughes School – Antique agricultural tractors will be on display at this year’s spring open house at the former Hughes School – a one-room school adjacent to Liberty Elementary School. Sponsored by the Liberty Township Historical Society the open house runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, at the school, 6010 Princeton Road. In conjunction with the open house, the Liberty Township Garden Club will host its annual plant sale in the school’s parking lot.
Fancy Nancy Tea Party – In the community room of the West Chester Library there will be two tea parties this Saturday. The hour-long event, which is called Fancy Nancy Tea Party, will begin at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. The event is geared to “Fancy Nancys” ages 4-6 and their chaperones. The event includes a storytime, followed by light refreshments. Children are encouraged to dress up. Cameras are welcome. Call the library, 513-777-3131 about registration.
Great Amazing Race – Modeled after a popular TV reality show, the contest at Voice of America Park pairs family members on a mile-long course that leads them to a string of challenge stations. Typical challenges range from a piggyback obstacle course to a “mummy wrap,” in which adults robe their youthful partner in toilet paper. The event organizer, Greg Benton, describes it as a family version of the TV show, “The Amazing Race.” The race will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. and costs $40 for a team of two. Visit greatamazingrace.com for more details or to register.
Acoustic Jam session – The community is invited to listen or join in a public acoustic jam session at Keehner Park this Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. According to westchesteroh.org, similar events will be held on the first Sunday of the month at Keehner Park now through September.
Two summers ago, the Lakota community lost a loved one when longtime teacher Karen Moeller passed away.
Karen Moeller, who taught 17 years at Adena Elementary, passed away June 18, 2011 at her Liberty Township home. Photo provided.
Members of the community honored the elementary school teacher by creating the Karen Moeller Scholarship Fun Run/Walk, which will take place for the second consecutive year in May at Voice of America Park.
This year’s event will take place Saturday and will begin at 9 a.m. around the lake at VOA Park. The event will benefit the Karen Moeller Scholarship Fund, which awards two scholarships each year to high school students based on academics and contributions to Lakota and to his or her community.
The distance of the run/walk is 1 ¼ miles. Prizes and awards will also be given out.
The cost per participant on the day of the event is $20. Those walk-ups are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes before the event begins.
Moeller taught first and second grades at Adena Elementary for 17 years before being transferred to Shawnee Elementary. In November of 2007, Moeller was diagnosed with brain cancer and fought the disease for more than 3 ½ years.
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The fourth annual Crazy Cardboard Boat Regatta is scheduled to take place July 20 at Voice of America Park in West Chester Township.
This event, which attracts thousands of onlookers, involves participants building a cardboard boat and then racing them in the lake at VOA Park. Last year, awards were given to the best show boats, fastest boats, as well as the people’s choice, judge’s choice, best theme, best sinking, most entertaining and for the craziest boats.
To register a boat, the cost is $20 for community members and $40 for organizations.
Currently, the event is offering sponsorship opportunities to local businesses.
“Sponsorship packages are designed at various levels of support to provide businesses with a wide variety of opportunities to promote their company and products, while supporting the community they serve.” said Kelly Barkley, Community Relations Coordinator for MetroParks.
Barkley and her team are also looking for volunteers. Last year, nearly 100 helped with the event.
For sponsorship, volunteering or boat building opportunities, visit www.yourmetroparks.net or call MetroParks at 513-867-5835.
To let West Chester and Liberty Township residents catch up with the news that they need to know, WestChesterBuzz.com will list and link to all of last week’s top local stories every Monday.
Ian Mellencamp, nephew of John Cougar Mellencamp, is making a name for himself in the modeling world. The Lakota West graduate has billboards all over the world. He also appeared in commercials and been featured in numerous ad campaigns. Photo provided by New View Management Group.
Cop rounds in Butler County now include schools – There are now frequent visitors at Lakota Schools who are armed but very welcome, Michael D. Clark reported last week for The Enquirer. Butler County Sheriff Deputy Mark Gilbert pulled his cruiser into the parking lot of Liberty Early Childhood School about 1 p.m. on a recent school day as part of his daily rounds in Butler County’s Liberty Township. It’s the latest strategy to strengthen school safety, say sheriff officials, who launched the new program last week for the county’s school districts and private schools.
PHOTO GALLERY: Mellencamp making a name for himself – In 2011, John Cougar Mellencamp called his brother in West Chester to let him know he had just seen his nephew on a billboard in Los Angeles. The billboard, which was also on display in New York City, Paris and China, was part of a Calvin Klein campaign that helped launch Ian Mellencamp’s modeling career that year.
Liberty trustee: It’s ‘immoral’ to accept federal funds – Liberty Township will apply for a federal grant to pay for construction and installation of a sidewalk, Sue Kiesewetter reported last week. But if the township is awarded the grant it is uncertain whether it would be accepted. Trustee David Kern voted this week against applying for a transportation alternative grant that would help pay for construction of sidewalks from the Liberty Junior School crosswalk at the Yankee Road/Dutchland Boulevard intersection to Cincinnati-Dayton Road, a distance of 3,250 feet.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart signed autographs for fans at the Sports Gallery in West Chester Township Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Afterward, he spoke about the team in 2013 and Ryan Ludwick’s injury. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber.
VIDEOS: Zack Cozart visits West Chester – Immediately after Opening Day last season, rookie shortstop Zack Cozart admitted that he was exhausted. After the game, he went back to his apartment and crashed. This year, despite the longer day (game lasted 4 hours and 45 minutes), Cozart said he had more energy after Monday’s opener.
VIDEO: Coyotes welcome at VOA park – Six coyotes are roaming the fields of Voice of America Park. But these coyotes are there for the park’s protection. MetroParks officials are going as far to say, these coyotes are park “employees’’. These six employees are plastic and have to be moved by park staff. However, their job duties are to protecting the park’s $3 million project, which includes 22 new multipurpose natural grass athletic fields.
Six coyotes are roaming the fields of Voice of America Park.
But these coyotes are there for the park’s protection. MetroParks officials are going as far to say, these coyotes are park “employees’’.
“We initially felt that we were on a wild goose chase trying to obtain the correct employees for these newly created positions as we were looking for a very specialized skill set,” said Tony Montgomery, MetroParks supervisor of operations. “We needed a team that could work independently or as a unit to keep eyes on the fields at all times as they mature.”
Six coyotes are roaming the fields of Voice of America Park in West Chester. But these coyotes are there for the park’s protection. MetroParks officials are going as far to say, these coyotes are park “employees’’. Photo taken by Adam Kiefaber.
These six employees are plastic and have to be moved by park staff. However, their job duties are to protecting the park’s $3 million project, which includes 22 new multipurpose natural grass athletic fields.
The fields, which border Butler-Warren and Tylersville roads, are expected to be available for use by September 2014. That’s if these coyotes can scare away the Canadian Geese from eating the grass seed.
“Right now is an important time for the grass to grow and the geese love the grass seed,” said Josh Torbeck, park manager of Voice of America. “We are having a problem with them eating the grass seed, so we are hoping this is the solution to the problem.”
Other solutions discussed by park officials included noise guns, dog trainers and border collies. But, in the end, they decided that the coyotes would be the most cost effective – at $99 a pup.
“This (coyote) team will work throughout the park, freeing existing staff to focus on other activities,” said Jason Shamblin, MetroParks deputy director. “Although they may be slow moving, they are very effective and they work cheap.”
The coyote crew began work this week. A release from the park system said that it would assess and share the performance of each new employee on its Facebook page.
There is a lot of pressure on these plastic coyotes. Based on a study conducted by AECOM Technical Services in Chicago, the 22 multipurpose fields are projected to bring in $20 million in indirect and direct spending, 200,000 new hotel room requests and 21,000 participants annually by 2019.
“The fields are very important to the park. It is going to be a focal point for the whole community,” Torbeck said. “Not only are we going to serve the community with practices and games, but we will also have tournaments that will have a regional and, hopefully, a national draw.
“Our goal is to make these the premier fields in the area.”
Spring is the theme for Thursday’s Discovery Kids program for preschool children at Voice of America Park in West Chester Township. Children can bring along their teddy bear to the program and then wake them up from hibernation.
The nature program for preschoolers, formerly known as Lollipop, is run by MetroParks of Butler County each month.
The hour-long program is targeted to children ages 3-5 and their adult companion. Children explore nature through stories, crafts and activities.
The deadline to register for Saturday’s spring garden forum at Voice of America’s Ronald Reagan Lodge in West Chester Township is this Tuesday.
The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., is geared toward helping, both the experienced and beginner gardener, to include native plants in their landscape.
Local professionals who will be helping with the forum include Chris McCullough, president of the local chapter of Wild Ones; Brian Jorg, manager of horticulture at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens; John DeVore, president of DeVore’s Land and Water Gardens; and Sherri Berger, manager of Mary’s Plant Farm and Landscaping.
Participants will also be able to have their gardening questions answered by a panel of Ohio State University Butler County master gardener volunteers.
The cost to attend, which includes a box lunch, is $40.
Photo provided by the Butler County Visitors Bureau
The Butler County Visitors Bureau in conjunction with the Miami University Water Ski club and Lotta Watta announced Thursday afternoon that it has been awarded the 2013 Junior U.S. Open Water Ski Championships, which will be held June 29-30 at Voice of America Park in West Chester.
“We are excited that Butler County’s Voice of America MetroPark has been chosen to host this prestigious youth sporting event,” said Mark Hecquet, executive director of the Butler County Visitors Bureau. “Having hosted this event in 2008, we’re looking forward to welcoming USA Water Ski and their top athletes back to Butler County.”
The two-day event will feature 100 of the nation’s top junior water ski athletes under the age of 21. The competitors will compete for titles in tricks, jumping, and top overall categories.
The championship event is expected to have an estimated economic impact of $155,000.