What made the news in 2022


TROY — In 2022, life began to get back to normal in Miami County after nearly two years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The year had plenty of news stories of crime and tragedy, but also memorable, positive moments too.

Here are some of the top stories, in no particular order, which hit the news in 2022.

The return of public events after COVID-19-related cancellations

Several county-wide festivals and events returned back in full force this year.

The Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA) returned to Troy for three nights in June. The Tour de Donut also returned in August.

The Troy Strawberry Festival returned on June 4 and 5 to its original format after being canceled for the last two summers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Troy Strawberry Festival was canceled in 2020 and replaced in 2021 with a smaller version, the Strawberry Jam, due to the pandemic. It returned to the full festival during the summer with its theme for 2022, “Peace, Love, & Berries.”

The city also announced a full slate of concerts and events that kept residents and visitors active in the downtown. It was also the first summer for the city’s new Designation Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA), which voters approved in November 2021.

The DORA allows visitors 21 years and older to consume alcoholic beverages outdoors and in participating businesses within the area’s boundaries, during designated hours, and according to DORA rules. Troy’s DORA operates on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. DORA beverages must be purchased at participating liquor establishments as you cannot bring your own drink.

High school sports’ state titles won

• In March, then Miami East 126-pound senior Max Shore did what he had been doing on the mat for four years at the D-III state championships at the Schottenstein Center. Shore, state runner-up as a freshman, completed a 46-0 run over the previous two seasons — defended his 2021 state title by dominating Wesley Wydick of Utica in an 18-3 technical fall win.

And while Shore made it look easy on the mat, dominating opponents, it is anything but. “Nobody is going to ever outwork me, that is for sure,” Shore said. “I tore my labrum before this season, so that made things tough. But, nobody is going to outwork me.”

It was the final high school match for Shore.

• Also in March, Troy Christian’s Connor Havill took the Division III 175-pound state championship at the Schottenstein Center. Havill dominated from the start in a 6-2 win over C.J. Smith (54-2) of Marion Pleasant.

And it started with an early take down that led to a 5-0 lead he never relinquished.

“I was thinking I just won a state title,” Havill said about the opening take-down. “Then I heard the official say, two (points) green. Winning the state championship means everything to me. I give all the glory to God. I put all my faith and trust in God and my coaches and teammates.”

• In June, then Lehman Catholic senior sprinter Kiersten Franklin said after the prelims Friday in D-III competition at the state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Stadium that she was looking for multiple state titles this year —after winning the 200 a year ago.

Franklin’s prayers were answered as she won the 100 and 200 meter dashes Saturday and finished sixth in the 400 in her final three races for Lehman, before going on to run at Cedarville University.

“I just feel really blessed,” Franklin said. “I won two state titles and had PRs in both races.”

Covington man accused of killing father deemed “mentally ill”

Mark J. Mayor, 47, was found, on Oct. 13, by Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine N. Pratt to be a “mentally-ill person” who is unable to withstand trial.

Mayor is facing murder and felonious assault charges after allegedly killing his father, David N. Mayor, 72. The incident occurred on the 6000 block of Myers Road in Newton Township on May 16.

Mayor will remain in possession of the psychiatric hospital for competency restoration for the next year to assist Mayor in helping his mental health conditions.

Tornado hits Tipp City, West Milton area

A tornado was confirmed, by the National Weather Service in Wilmington, to have touched down on early evening of evening of June 8 near West Milton and Tipp City.

“That tornado cell traveled across I-75 to North Third Street in Tipp City, causing extensive damage to several of the large industry buildings up here on North Third Street,” said Tipp City Chief of Police Greg Adkins following the tornado.

Adkins said there was significant water damage in the area as well, but there were no reports of anyone being injured. One of the biggest places hit was the Meijer Distribution Center in Tipp City. That facility was damaged with its roof partially destroyed and a wall that collapsed. According to Miami County Emergency Management Agency Director Joel Smith, those inside the facility were able to take cover due to early warnings, and no one was injured inside the building.

Troy man sentenced in murder of roommate

Sean Christopher Higgins, 26, was sentenced to life without parole on Dec. 12 by Judge Stacy M. Wall of Miami County Common Pleas Court for the mid-April murder of his roommate, 25-year-old Easton Ho.

Higgins received life without parole for aggravated murder, 12 months for gross abuse of a corpse, 18 months for tampering with evidence, 18 months for tampering with evidence, 6 months for grand theft of a motor vehicle, and 6 months for receiving stolen property, which will all be served concurrently with 242 days of jail time credit.

Higgins was charged in connection with the death of Ho, whose remains were located and identified in Randolph County, Indiana, within a mile of where police believe Higgins disposed of Ho’s body. Investigators also believe Higgins abused Ho’s corpse by “cutting off the dead victim’s thumb and keeping it to access and use the victim’s cellular phone,” according to Municipal Court documents.

Three charged with aggravated murder in shooting at Troy Community Park

Three people were arrested by Troy Police in November in connection with a shooting at the Troy Community Park on Aug. 24.

Derrick D. Peeples, 27, no address available, was identified as the suspected shooter in the incident. Peeples was charged with attempted aggravated murder, conspiracy and felonious assault.

Todd L. Norris, 26, of Troy, was also charged with attempted aggravated murder, conspiracy and felonious assault.

And, Courtney N. McCarel, 36, of Piqua, was charged with attempted aggravated murder, conspiracy, felonious assault and tampering with evidence.

According to Troy Police, the shooting is believed to have been drug-related and pre-planned to occur at the park. The victim, an unidentified 29-year old male subject, was dropped off at Kettering Health Troy Hospital, and transported to Kettering Medical Center where he was treated for a gunshot wound to the chest.

Construction begins on new Piqua YMCA

In April, the Miami County YMCA put up construction fencing around the site where its new Piqua Branch will be located, across from its current Piqua Branch on High Street in downtown Piqua.

On Sept. 21, members of the YMCA Board of Directiors, along with local city leaders signed their names on the final steel beam to be placed by Piqua Steel Crane & Riggomg during a “topping out” ceremony at the new Piqua Branch.

The new facility is expected to open in 2024. H.A. Dorsten Inc. is the general contractor for the project, and Taylor Architects designed the new 76,379-square-foot location.

Ouelette’s Canadian Football League team wins Grey Cup

Covington High School (CHS) and Ohio University graduate A.J. Ouellette, of Covington, recently won the Canadian Football League (CFL) Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts on Nov. 20.

Ouellette graduated from CHS in 2014 and from OU in 2018 before going on to play a short stint for the Cleveland Browns. Ouellette started with the Argonauts in the middle of their season in 2019 and played four games with the team through the end of the CFL season.

His first, partial, season with the Argonauts gave him his first professional starting position as running back and his first professional touchdown. In 2020, what was supposed to be his second season in the CFL, the season was cancelled due to COVID-19 and the 2021 season was a shortened season for the team as they played on and off through surges of COVID. Finally, in 2022, he played a full season in the CFL as a running back for the Toronto Argonauts.

Ouellette is one of a small percentage of those who have achieved their dream of playing professional football. The Argonauts played the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday, Nov. 20, for the Grey Cup, the CFL’s equivalent of the Superbowl. The Argonauts won by one point, 24-23.

Troy opens new Fire Station No. 11 downtown/installs baby box

The city of Troy moved into its newly built Fire Station No. 11. located at 110 E. Canal St. during the summer, An open house was held celebrating the new station on Dec. 4.

The new fire station is a two-story, 17,368-square-foot facility with four drive-through bays, located in the downtown historic district. The station also house a 40-seat classroom, a platoon commander office, a training office, and a triage room. The station has apparatus bays, a turnout great room, an equipment decontamination area, and a personal decontamination area.

The second floor is the living quarters for fire personnel on shift. The area includes an open concept kitchen, dining, and day room, eight bunk rooms, three bathrooms, a fitness area, and laundry.

One of the additions to the new department is the installation of Newborn Safe Haven Baby Box Number 118 in August.

The baby box’s concept, founded by Monica Kelsey, is a way to save the lives of newborns whose mothers find themselves with an infant they are not able to care for.

The box, actually more of a climate-controlled infant crib, is located inside the lobby of the new fire station. If a new mother finds herself in the situation of being unable to care for her newborn, the Safe Haven box is a safe and secure alternative to abandoning a child “on the street.”

Once a newborn is placed in the box, signals are sent to alert Troy Fire Department and Miami County Communications Center dispatchers so that the infant can be immediately cared for.

Implementation of the baby box came with some controversy, however after a Cincinnati resident filed a complaint with the Department of Health claiming its location is not in compliance. The box continues to be available for use currently at the fire department.

Demolition of the Piqua Municipal Swimming Pool

Demolition of the Piqua Municipal Swimming Pool began in May. This first phase was to address the deteriorating conditions of the aging swimming pool located at Pitsenbarger Park. The first phase included the demolition was of the existing pool and structures. A subsequent phase includes an analysis of the aquatic needs of the community in an effort to identify a suitable solution.

Honorable mention:

While these stories weren’t in the top 10 list of events for the year, they do have an impact on county residents.

• Radio station 98.1 WPTW (AM 1570) celebrates 75 years

• Ground was broke for the new One Stop Center, officially named the Miami County Commerce Center in Aug.

• Crowning of Troy High School”s homecoming king and queen

• Miss United States visits Piqua

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