GREENE COUNTY — 2019 was an eventful year in the Miami Valley, and Greene County was no exception. From weather that included flooded fields and tornado cleanup, new faces in county government, and tragedy on Greene County roads, here’s a look at top stories from 2019:
Memorial Day tornadoes
The Miami Valley saw 15 tornadoes touchdown on Memorial Day evening and overnight into the next day. While Trotwood and the Northridge communities were the hardest hit, Beavercreek and Beavercreek Township also suffered significant damage. the EF3 twister entered Greene County along U.S. 68 in Xenia Township. Several homes along Rushton Drive had entire roofs lifted. Homes along Gardenview and Wendover drives experienced shattered windows, collapsed garage doors and entire roof structures removed. The tornado moved from Kemp Road east-southeast into Beavercreek Twp. The tornado damage ended to the east of U.S. 68 in Xenia Twp., where roof and tree damage occurred north of Clifton Road.
Two smaller tornadoes hit northeast of Jamestown and took down trees along Lackey and South Charleston Roads.
As 2019 comes to a close, cleanup and recovery is still underway for many families.
County takes steps toward new jail
The County Commissioners voted unanimously to place a .25 percent sales tax increase on the March, 2020 ballot to fund the construction of a new jail. Sheriff Gene Fischer proposed that the county replace its 130-bed jail in downtown Xenia and its 236-bed Adult Detention Center with a new, 500-bed jail at a cost of $54.9 million.
Overcrowding has been a longstanding issue at the jail. Fischer cited a 2003 Fairborn Daily Herald article titled “Jails bulge; judges fume.” It also references a 1989 federal court order against overcrowding after a Greene County inmate sued because of it.
New faces in Greene County offices
Greene County Engineer Bob Geyer retired in May after serving 22 years in that position. At the time of his retirement, Geyer was the longest serving elected official in Greene County. As county engineer, Geyer shifted his focus to roads and bridges.
“Since I’ve been here, all major structures — like all the bridges over the Little Miami River — have been rehabilitated, everything from painting to new decks to new guardrail, whatever needed to be done to bring the bridge up to current standards,” Geyer said.
Stephanie Goff took over for Geyer and was formally appointed on July 11. She became the only female county-wide elected official in Greene County and one of just three female county engineers in Ohio.
In January, Kraig Hagler was appointed as County Treasurer after Dick Gould was elected to the County Commission. Hagler said he will run for re-election when his term expires.
Two teens killed in auto accident
Two 16 year old students were killed in October when the vehicle they were driving in went left of center and struck another vehicle on U.S. 235 near Hilltop Road. Troy Haney and Jarred Hixson, both of Xenia, were students at the Greene County Career Center at the time of the accident.
The driver of the second vehicle, a 23-year-old Brookville woman, was taken to Greene Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Her passenger, a 4-year-old girl, was not injured.
Farmers face tough year
May’s tornadoes were just the tip of the iceberg for Greene County farmers. Record rainfall in the first six months of the year prevented many farmers from planting on schedule and wiped out many crops that did get planted.
“I’ve been farming full time since 1985,” Kent Campbell, who farms in Cedarville, said. “We’ve never had a year [like it]. We had a lot of crops we couldn’t get out last fall … We’ve been fighting this wet weather since mid-October.”
Disaster relief funds were made available to farmers by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 502-4527.