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Ohio is #4 in the country for Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Passes

Never let it be said that Ohioans don’t love their pasta. Never EVER let it be said.

Ohio was the No. 4 state in America in the number of Pasta Passes sold when the special promotion went live last Thursday, Sept. 14, a spokeswoman for Olive Garden said.

>> ALSO TODAY: Lobster queso and 4 more dishes we can’t wait to try at this Centerville restaurant

It took less than one second for Olive Garden fans to claim all 22,000 Never Ending Pasta Passes and 50 first-of-its-kind Pasta Passports to Italy when they went on sale Sept. 14. Ohio ranks 7th in population, suggesting pasta lovers in the Buckeye state signed up for the unlimited pasta in disproportionately large numbers.

In other words, Ohioans REPRESENTED.

>> RELATED: Affordable Olive Garden deal offers trip to Italy, all-you-can-eat pasta

The sale of Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Pass has become an annual phenomenon of sorts, and it brings its buyers eight weeks of access to unlimited pasta, sauces, toppings, soup or salad and breadsticks from Sept. 25 through Nov. 19. The passes are sold for $100.

>> ALSO TODAY: Region’s newest brewery to host grand opening this Saturday

This year, a second pass affords customers all the benefits of the Never Ending Pasta Pass plus the opportunity to go to Italy for $200. The eight-day European vacation includes airfare, hotel, meals, ground transportation and daily activities for two during April 2018.

“Every year, through our Pasta Pass sale, we get to connect with and delight thousands of our most passionate Olive Garden fans,” Jennifer Arguello, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden, said in a release. “We couldn’t think of a better way to create even more memories and a deeper connection to our brand than through a special edition Pasta Pass that includes an all-inclusive trip for two to the country that inspires us.”

Former Blue Jacket theater set for demolition in Greene County

It’s been 10 years since the Blue Jacket theater group performed at Caesar’s Ford Park, and now the dilapidated buildings are slated to be torn down.

A padlock on the front gates keeps the public out of the park at 520 S. Stringtown Road. The structures, which were built in the 1970s, have not been maintained and now pose safety hazards, Greene County officials said.

STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook

“It’s a sad end of an era, but the future is bright,” said Brandon Huddleson, Greene County administrator.

Rezod LLC has been awarded the $308,851 contract to demolish the buildings and clear the way for reopening the 65-acre park and exploring new recreational options for residents.

To pay for the three-month project, county commissioners approved spending $208,000 out of the general and capital funds, and the park district is providing $100,000. County officials have not said when the demolition work will begin.

MORE: Grants available for business expansion, investment in Greene County

Memories of the Blue Jacket theater

Many people, like Kevin Carsey of Beavercreek, earned lifelong memories working at the amphitheater and seeing the life of Blue Jacket, a famous American Indian who lived in the Greene County region, portrayed in the open air.

“It is a sacred land,” said the 39-year-old father of two. Carsey got chills as he recalled walking the trail toward the back of the property and being near the area that was dubbed “the medicine wheel.”

“At the end of the show, the actors would say ‘look around you at the forest and listen to the streams nearby’ … The spiritual piece of that is just huge for those of us who worked at the theater,” he said.

MORE: Runway extension could bring more corporate jets to Greene County

Carsey and others want an opportunity to visit the park and the buildings before they are torn down. Carsey said there was always a ceremony at the beginning of the shows to show respect for the Americans Indians who once lived in the region. He hopes the county allows a similar ceremony before the demolition work begins.

Elizabeth Gutierrez Burke, 33, of Riverside, started acting in the shows when she was 12. When she wasn’t acting, she would work as an usher, and her siblings also participated in the shows.

“We weren’t just a cast, we were a family that transcended seasons,” Burke said. “That show will always be a part of every cast and crew member to grace that stage.”

‘A beautiful piece of property’

The strong sentimental ties the community has to the park are not lost on Greene County Parks and Trails Director Chrisbell Bednar.

See who’s in jail: Greene County inmates

“A lot of people grew up out there,” Bednar said. “They had their summer job out there. A lot of people have great, fond memories of being part of the show or seeing the show.”

Bednar said the seats that make up the amphitheater will be disassembled and removed before demolition in an effort to preserve them for future use. She said measures will be in place to try to avoid damaging the concrete that forms the seating area, but the iconic light tower, which shined down onto the large outdoor stage, will have to come down.

“It’s a beautiful piece of property,” Bednar said. “We want to make it a multi-use facility for various programs throughout the year. Cycling and equestrian groups have made inquiries, and they need a big facility, but right now we can’t open it to the general public.”

The Xenia-Jamestown Connector Bike Trail passes through a portion of the park, and building new trails to connect to it is part of the ongoing conversation about what to do after the demolition work is over.

Bob Evans Farms has been sold for $1.5B

Post Holdings, Inc. will acquire Bob Evans Farms, Inc. for $1.5 billion, the companies announced today.

Post Holdings and Bob Evans Farms have entered into a definitive agreement in which Post will acquire Bob Evans for $77.00 per share. The deal will “significantly strengthen Post’s portfolio of brands, expand choices for customers and increase Post’s presence in higher growth categories of the packaged food market,” the company said in a statement.

» Bob Evans CEO: Restaurants will remain open

Bob Evans, which was founded in 1948 in Ohio, produces and distributes refrigerated potato, pasta and vegetable-based side dishes, pork sausage, and a variety of refrigerated and frozen convenience food items under the Bob Evans, Owens, Country Creek and Pineland Farms brands.

“We have enormous respect for Bob Evans’ success and are excited about the growth opportunities this combination will create,” said Rob Vitale, president and chief executive officer of Post Holdings. “Combining with Bob Evans expands our portfolio of top brands and gives Post a leading position in the perimeter of the store. We look forward to welcoming the talented Bob Evans team to Post and working to create a successful future together.”

» RELATED: 5 things to know about Bob Evans selling restaurants

After the acquisition, Post expects to combine its existing refrigerated retail egg, potato and cheese business with Bob Evans, establishing a refrigerated retail business within Post. That business will be led by Mike Townsley, Bob Evans’ current President and CEO. Jim Dwyer will continue in his current role as President and CEO of the Michael Foods Group, managing the commercial foodservice egg, potato and pasta businesses. That will include the Bob Evans foodservice business.

» RELATED: Bobs Evans restaurants officially sold

Bob Evans Farms Inc. has a major presence in Springfield, with a transportation center at AirparkOhio. The company opened its first distribution center at AirparkOhio in 2002, according to the park website.

» RELATED: Bob Evans sells Springfield plant

» RELATED: Bob Evans 100 adds jobs, truck center

The acquistion comes after Bob Evans Farms Inc. sold its Bob Evans Restaurants to Golden Gate Capital in May. Bob Evans sold its restaurant to the private equity firm for $565 million. Golden Gate Capital has bought the restaurant chain, and will retain the Bob Evans leadership team to guide the transition as it takes part of the company private, the company said. Net proceeds are expected to be between $475 million and $485 million, according to a company statement.

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BRUNCH BILL: Backers of earlier Sunday alcohol sales launch campaign

A coalition of downtown Dayton businesses and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce are putting together a campaign to urge voters in one downtown precinct to allow bars and restaurants in that precinct to start serving alcohol at 10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. on Sundays.

9 of the best brunch spots in Dayton

The issue — which supporters have dubbed the “brunch bill,” and which will appear as Local Issue 11 on the ballot — will be decided by voters in Precinct 1-B in downtown Dayton. There are about 1,100 registered voters in precinct 1-B, which includes the business strip of the Oregon District on East Fifth Street as well as the area around the Cannery and part of the Water Street development. It does not include the residential neighborhood just south of the Oregon District strip on East Fifth Street, which is part of another precinct.

“The pendulum for downtown Dayton is on the upswing right now, and we want to keep that momentum going,” said Chris Kershner, vice president of public policy and economic development for the Dayton chamber.

9 more Dayton-area brunch spots for your next weekend out

Kershner said several downtown Dayton restaurants approached chamber officials about seeking the change, and the chamber spearheaded the petition drive to place the issue on the fall ballot. A “yes” vote will allow the one-hour-earlier start time only at those alcohol-permit holders in precinct 1-B, and would have no impact on other restaurants and bars outside of the precinct.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Dayton restaurants seek change in Sunday alcohol start time

Kershner said supporters are concerned about the ballot language as written by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, because it doesn’t make clear that a “yes” vote would simply move the start time for Sunday alcohol sales from the current 11 a.m. state-mandated start time to 10 a.m. Some voters may read the language and think the measure would allow Sunday alcohol sales for the first time, Kershner said.

The best Bloody Marys in Dayton

Here’s how Issue 11 will appear on the ballot of voters in precinct 1-B:

“Shall the sale of intoxicating liquor, of the same type as may be legally sold in this precinct on other days of the week, be permitted in this Dayton 1-B Precinct for consumption on premises where sold between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight on Sunday?”

The “vote yes” campaign will focus on education rather than advocacy, Kershner said, to make sure voters know a “yes” vote simply allows for the one-hour-earlier start time on Sundays.

Steve Tieber, owner of the Dublin Pub at East Fifth Street and Wayne Avenue, said Sunday sales are important to his restaurant and to many other alcohol-permit holders in downtown Dayton.

“Sunday is our third-busiest day,” behind only Friday and Saturday, Tieber said of the Dublin Pub. And most of the pub’s Sunday sales are related to its brunch service.

The 12 best restaurants in Dayton

Restaurant owners told chamber officials it is frustrating to be forced to refuse customer orders of brunch cocktails such as Bloody Marys and mimosas during what for some is the first hour of their brunch service. The change will give restaurants more flexibility, boost sales and ultimately create and preserve jobs, Tieber said.

The precinct has about 1,100 voters. Kershner and Tieber are helping to put together a grass-roots campaign led by retailers and other “brunch bill” coalition members, which number about 20 and include the Downtown Dayton Partnership and the chamber.

“We’ll do mailings, yard signs, banners — anything to get the word out,” Kershner said.

How to score the famous Troy Strawberry Fest donuts in special sale this weekend only

The news is true: you can get the famous Troy strawberry donuts this weekend. 

>> 8 of the most delicious donuts in Dayton

The Troy Music Boosters are hosting a donut flash sale on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Donuts will be $1 each. 

>> What happened when Bill’s Donuts asked for hurricane donations? THIS!

>> What to know about Bill’s Donut Shop

Usually, the donuts are sold during the Troy Strawberry Festival, where people will wait for hours in line to get them. 

>> 12 amazing strawberry treats to try at the Strawberry Festival

>> These photos of kids staring longingly at Bill’s Donuts will make you say ‘SAME’

>> Bill’s Donut Shop named 1 of the 2 ‘Best in America’

New gaming café gears up for October opening near the Dayton Mall

The founder of a board-game café under construction near the Dayton Mall is using a Kickstarter campaign to expand the cafe’s game library and will host a party this Saturday at a Dayton brewery to help launch the effort in style.

RELATED: 7 bar and gaming arcades to visit in Dayton

And yes, board games will be part of the Cardboard Crowns launch party, which will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Warped Wing Brewing Co. at 26 Wyandot St. in downtown Dayton. In addition to games for all ages, Cardboard Crowns also will raffle off board games throughout the day. There is no admission charge.

“We’re launching the Kickstarter to help us expand the cafe’s game library and to help us boost our board game art and decor throughout the cafe,” founder Ben T. Adams said. “We also want to provide a way for the community to really buy into the space and to make them feel like they had a hand in helping us make Cardboard Crowns a reality.”

RELATED: The stunning transformation of Dayton’s newest arcade bar, DK Effect

Pledge levels start at $5, “and every person who donates will get their name on a hex that will be inlaid into the cafe’s bar top to show they supported us from the beginning,” Adams said. Details can be found at the Cardboard Crowns Kickstarter Launch page.

Buildout of the space at 147 N. Springboro Pike (Ohio 741) in the Corners at the Mall retail center is progressing. “We’re still shooting for a mid-to-late October opening,” Adams said.

NEW TODAY: Daytonians of the Week: the owners of Oregon Express Bar & Restaurant

Plans call for a offering eight craft beers on tap and a selection of 30 to 40 bottled or canned craft beers, along with wines and a limited cocktail list, Adams has said. The food menu will include lighter fare — sandwiches and snacks, mostly.

The board games list will be extensive. “We’re looking at a starting library of 400 to 500 titles,” Adams said in June.

RELATED: Gamer cafe in the works near the Dayton Mall (June 2017)

The selections will range from lighter games to more involved, strategic games. Cardboard Crowns’ staff will be trained to teach the basics of the cafés games, and to make recommendations to patrons who are looking for something new to try, Adams said.

RELATED: Kettering bar has 300 board games, craft beers — and no TVs

The new café’s concept is part of a national and local trend to combine gaming and drinks. Adams said he looked at about a dozen locations across the region, including sites in downtown Dayton, Beavercreek and Kettering, before selecting the 3,500-square-foot space at the Corners at the Mall location within the Miamisburg city limits.

WATCH: We stopped by the D20 gamer bar and it was PACKED

For more information, or to monitor the café’s progress, check out the Cardboard Crowns Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CardboardCrownsDayton.

Local woman wins car on ‘The Price is Right’

UPDATE @ 1:15 p.m.:

Vandalia resident Patricia Hoendorf won a car during her appearance on “Price is Right” this morning.

Hoendorf spun the wheel to make it to the Showcase Showdown, but eventually lost to the other contestant.

INITIAL REPORT:

A Dayton area woman will “come on down” on an upcoming episode of the “Price is Right.”

Patricia A. Larger Hoendorf of Vandalia appeared on the show Sept. 19. The show airs 11 a.m. weekdays on WHIO channel 7. 

WHIO is a part of Cox Media Group Ohio. 

Cleveland native Drew Carey has hosted the game show for a decade. 

Hoendorf attended a watch party Tuesday at Little York Tavern. She said the best part of being on the show was the supportive and happy environment.

 

Reports: Florida GOP leader once beat female classmate with claw hammer until it broke

Florida GOP officials find themselves in an unusual position after they learned that a newly elected member of the Broward County executive board was once charged with attempted murder in connection with the brutal claw hammer attack of a female classmate at his California prep school.

Rupert Tarsey, 28, was elected secretary of the Broward County GOP chapter four months ago, according to the Miami Herald. His new position came into question after a fellow member made the discovery earlier this month. 

That member informed Broward County GOP chairman Bob Sutton about Tarsey’s past over the Labor Day weekend.

“We were blindsided,” Sutton told the Herald. “He’s a member of the Knights of Columbus, for Christ’s sake. And he came highly recommended by the former chair. We had no idea what his background is.

“We want him out, but he is refusing to resign. He deceived us. It looks like he even used a reputation management firm to make sure we wouldn’t find out who he is.”

Tarsey, who volunteered on President Donald Trump’s campaign, admitted that he has no intention of resigning his post. 

“Why should I resign?” Tarsey asked. “I did nothing wrong, and I was elected. This is just party politics.”

Sutton suspended Tarsey from party functions last week. 

Tarsey’s real name is Rupert Ditsworth, the Herald reported. He changed his name to Tarsey, his mother’s maiden name, when he moved to Fort Lauderdale two years after the 2007 incident, the newspaper said. 

Los Angeles Times story reported that Tarsey, then 17, was accused of attacking Elizabeth Barcay, an 18-year-old classmate at Harvard-Westlake School in L.A., on May 14, 2007, with a claw hammer, hitting her at least 40 times and splitting open her head. Barcay’s mother, Barbara Hayden, told the Times that her daughter also suffered a shattered leg and a broken nose in the attack. 

Tarsey’s parents admitted him to a psychiatric hospital immediately after the assault, the Times reported. He was initially charged as a juvenile with both attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

The juvenile case was dropped, and he was rearrested in June 2007, the day after his 18th birthday, so he could be tried as an adult.

Prosecutors at the time told the Chronicle, the online newspaper of Harvard-Westlake School, that Tarsey was tried as an adult because of the seriousness of the injuries suffered by the victim. If convicted of the charges, he faced a possible life sentence.

The Times reported that the attack started after Tarsey invited Barcay to ride with him to a juice bar after a big Advanced Placement exam at school. After drinking smoothies and returning to his Jaguar, he grabbed a backpack from the rear seat and placed it between his legs, according to Barcay.

Barcay told police that instead of returning to school, Tarsey parked in a residential neighborhood in Studio City, not far from campus. Appearing anxious, she said he told her he was contemplating suicide.

When she urged him to return to school to seek help from a counselor, she said he told her, “It isn’t going to happen that way,” the Times reported.

Telling her he wasn’t going to kill himself alone, he pulled a claw hammer from his backpack and attacked her, the newspaper said. 

A witness walking nearby saw the struggle inside the Jaguar and called 911, the newspaper said. 

Tarsey got out of the car, pulled open the passenger-side door and pulled Barcay out by her hair, the Times said. He continued hitting her with the hammer until the tool broke.

He then choked her until she bit his finger, the Times reported. That’s when Tarsey got back behind the wheel and drove off. 

>> Read more trending news

Tarsey ultimately claimed self-defense in the case.

“In the end, I pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor,” Tarsey told the Herald. “It’s not the charges that matter, it’s what happens in court.”

He argued that he did not change his name to hide who he was, but did so after his parents divorced. He said he is estranged from his father. 

After moving to Florida, Tarsey went to college and earned an MBA from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. He is now married with two children and a third on the way.

Barcay, who went to prom and graduation in a wheelchair following the attack, went on to study at Williams College. Her alumni information shows that she went on to earn a master’s degree in education from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. 

She is now an elementary school teacher in the Boston area. 

Free no more: Oregon District parking lot to charge customers

A free parking lot in the Oregon Historic District is converting to a pay system from late afternoon to the early morning hours to pay for security, aesthetic improvements and increased maintenance.

The Oregon community lot, located at the southwest end of the business district on East Fifth Street, will start charging car owners $3 to park from between 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. seven days a week.

The lot’s 140 public spaces will remain free up until 4 p.m., but after that, people will have to use a pay station or a mobile app to avoid getting a ticket or possibly towed.

RELATED: Paid parking comes to Oregon District

Drinking and misbehavior in the parking lot has led to trash, broken bottles, broken glass and other issues that hopefully will be eliminated with the addition of a parking authority and attendant, said Steve Budd, senior adviser of CityWide, which is part owner of the lot.

“And we haven’t done a refresh of the landscape in eight years,” he said.

The switch from free to fee parking follows in the footsteps of the lot behind Ned Peppers and the one next to the Environmental Protection Agency, which late last year implemented metered systems.

MORE: Owner District paid lot ‘not a money-maker,’ according to owner

Starting Monday, the Oregon District community lot will begin charging car owners after 4 p.m.

Four pay machines will be installed at the property, which is located by Omega Music, Oregon Express, Thai 9 and Jay’s Seafood. The lot was rebuilt in 2008 and has been free to visitors since that time.

The parking fees will help pay for additional lighting, landscaping upgrades and for the services of a professional parking authority to monitor and enforce the new regulations, Budd said.

Visitors will enter their license plate numbers into an electronic station and pay with cash or credit cards.

They also will have the option to pay using their mobile devices by downloading and using the Passport Parking App (PPPRK.COM).

CityWide owns about 60 percent of the 140-space parking lot. About 30 percent is owned by Jay’s Seafood and about 10 percent belongs to Gottschlich & Portune, LLP.

However, Omega Music owns 26 spaces that it does not plan to charge its customers to use.

The community lot was upgraded significantly in 2008 to offer free parking and more spaces to help the Oregon District become even more of an arts and entertainment destination.

The city of Dayton supported the lot enhancements using money from its development fund, including a $850,000 grant to CityWide.

VIDEO: Dayton gym teacher drags kindergartner across floor

Video of a Dayton Public Schools teacher who reportedly “grabbed a student by the wrist during gym class at Rosa Parks Early Learning Center, twisted his arm, and dragged him across the gym floor” was obtained Tuesday by the Dayton Daily News and WHIO.

MORE: Dayton teacher fired for ‘dragging’ kindergartner across gym

David Cameron was accused of dragging the kindergarten boy “on or about” Nov. 28, 2016, according to a March 15 letter DPS Treasurer Hiwot Abraha wrote Cameron detailing the specifications of the grounds for termination.

The school board approved a resolution to terminate Cameron during a meeting in August.

The Dayton Daily News and WHIO obtained the letter and video using Ohio’s public records laws.

MORE: DPS lowers GPA for sports eligibility, adds mandatory tutoring

“The kindergarten student expressed that you were hurting him, yet you did not release him,” the letter states. “On Feb, 23, 2017, you were present at an administrative hearing regarding the charges and specifications surrounding this matter. It was noted in the hearing that you have been counseled previously regarding appropriate student disciplinary procedures.”

Cameron initially requested a hearing before a referee appointed by the Ohio Department of Education, according to the resolution from the meeting. But the document says Cameron “withdrew his request and waived any right to a hearing” before the Aug. 2 meeting.

Cameron was placed on leave for several months after the incident.

MORE: U.S. News 2018 Best Colleges: Area schools make the list

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