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Prost! Cincinnati ranked best Oktoberfest city in U.S.

You don’t have to travel too far to go to one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the world.

WalletHub ranked Cincinnati as the top city in the U.S. for Oktoberfest, the beer-drinking German tradition that often lasts from mid-September to the first Sunday in October. The celebration originated from early 19th century Munich, and the event has since evolved into the world’s biggest “people’s festival.”

» BUSINESS NEWS: Construction begins on new apartments in Centerville

Munich’s Oktoberfest attracts more than 6 million people from around the globe, who drink nearly 2 million gallon of beer each year. Oktoberfest in Munich brings in about $1.54 million in economic impact for the city.

The top U.S. cities for Oktoberfest celebrations include: Cincinnati, New York City, Portland, Philadelphia, Denver, St. Louis, Madison, Orlando, Pittsburgh and Columbus.

Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest — or Oktoberfest Zinzinnati — is this weekend on Second and Third streets, between Walnut and Elm streets — and the part attracts more than 500,000 people each year. There are private and public parking garages downtown within walking distance to the festival.

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Horse almost ended up in slaughterhouse

Photos show how the horse was identified by tattooing. They also show his treated injuries.

Springboro council OKs $380 million Austin South deal

The Springboro City Council gave the green light Thursday on development of the $380 million Austin South Springboro.

The council voted after developer Larry Dillin unveiled the project publicly for the first time.

With two members absent, the council approved a resolution 5-0 authorizing City Manager Christine Thompson to sign the development agreement with Dillin’s companies.

Those companies are VisCap - the company under which Dillin is developing and leasing on both sides of Austin Boulevard since taking over for developer Randy Gunlock and RG Properties - and Springboro Landing Associates - the company owning the 63.7 acres in Springboro city limits and 3.5 acres in Miami Twp.

“This is a wonderful thing for Springboro,” Mayor John Agenbroad said.

RELATED: Springboro ready to approve Austin South development

Now the city and Dillin’s companies begin a contingency period of 90 to 180 days expected to lead to arrangement of financing for the project. Annexation of the Miami Twp. land into Springboro is among the contingencies.

By late spring 2018, the project could be breaking ground.

It comes as Dillin concludes work at Austin Landing, a mixed-used development at Austin Boulevard across from the new project site along Interstate 75.

RELATED: Austin South could spur $350 million in development

Springboro is to finance more than $32 million to pay for roads and other infrastructure.

Dillin, his investors and the companies moving to the development are expected to put in as much as $350 million, according to the development agreement released this week.

Upscale senior and multi-family housing, a hotel and retail are among the uses anticipated in the first phase of the 67-acre development on the southeast corner of Interstate 75 and Austin Boulevard, in Springboro and Miami Twp.

RELATED: Council traveled 2.5 hours for meeting at Levis Commons

Dillin and the city reached agreement after setting aside terms of a settlement reached by the city and the prior developer, R.G. Properties, in a lawsuit about plans to build a WalMart there.

RELATED: Springboro ready to negotiate on property across from Austin Landing

The development agreement sets a schedule of payments to Miamisburg City Schools, starting in 2021. Payments of more than $3 million would be in lieu of taxes on the improvements that are to be diverted through tax incremental financing to help pay for the development.

The development is to be accessed off Austin Boulevard by an entrance across from one leading into Austin Landing and allowing no left turns for westbound motorists. A full entrance would be built off 741, Main Street in Springboro.

Dillin is also expected to be involved in redevelopment of Springboro’s central crossroads, Main Street and Central Avenue, Ohio 73 in Springboro.

RELATED: Architect hired to redesign former Springboro IGA shopping center site 

Third organization joins charities leaving Mar-a-Lago

Three major philanthropic organizations said Thursday they are pulling their events from President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, with one already in discussions to move its 2018 fundraiser to another A-list oceanfront setting.

>> Read more trending news 

Thursday afternoon, the Cleveland Clinic and American Cancer Society announced they were leaving the president’s Palm Beach estate.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Latest news, photos, videos on President Donald Trump

Late Thursday, the American Friends of Magen David Adom, an organization supporting Israel disaster relief programs, told The Palm Beach Post it is canceling a planned fund-raising gala at Mar-a-Lago, set for Sunday, Feb. 25.

“After considerable deliberation, AFMDA — an apolitical and humanitarian aid organization — will not hold its 2018 Palm Beach Celebration of Life Gala at Mar-a-Lago,” the brief statement said. Magen David Adom is Israel’s ambulance, blood services and disaster-relief organization.

Last season’s gala, held Feb. 26, featured more than 600 attendees who paid $650 per ticket.

Also Thursday, a prominent business leader in Palm Beach urged other charitable organizations sticking with Mar-a-Lago to reconsider their commitment to the president’s club. Laurel Baker, executive director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, told those groups and their deep-pocket donors to “have a conscience” and seek another venue for their events.

The decisions by the American Cancer Society, Cleveland Clinic and the AFMDA were three of the latest examples of pushback to Trump in the days since the president’s off-the-cuff, combative and controversial news conference on Tuesday at Trump Tower, where he renewed his statements that “both sides” were at fault in the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked by marches by neo-Nazis and white supremacists last weekend.

“Our values and commitment to diversity are critical as we work to address the impact of cancer in every community,” the American Cancer Society said in announcing it would move two 2018 events, a dinner for sponsors and its 60th anniversary gala, from the president’s Palm Beach estate. “It has become increasingly clear that the challenge to those values is outweighing other business considerations.”

That announcement followed a decision by Cleveland Clinic, a leading research hospital in the United States with a location in West Palm Beach, to move its eventpossibly to the Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa.

» Palm Beach chamber head tells charities ‘have a conscience’ about Mar-a-Lago events

Nick Gold, the public relations director of the oceanfront Eau Palm Beach , said it is working with the hospital in hopes of hosting next year’s event.

“Their first call was to us,” Gold said. “We are talking to them. … We certainly want to work with The Cleveland Clinic.”

The American Cancer Society said it has not settled on a new location and is evaluating venue options. No further information was available about whether AFMDA would try to hold an event elsewhere in Palm Beach County during the season.

The Cleveland Clinic’s move follows previous assertions its event would go on at Trump’s Palm Beach estate as planned, despite protests and letters of concern from some who demanded the venue be changed.

The hospital has hosted the fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago for the past eight years, according to The Associated Press, raising anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million a year.

» RELATED: Complaints aside, charities plan to stick with Mar-a-Lago

A representative for the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach said the nonprofit has no plans to move its fundraising event — The Palm Beach Wine Auction — which is scheduled to be held at Mar-a-Lago on Feb. 1. Tickets to the auction are $1,000 a person.

The Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Loxahatchee Groves also still plans to have one of its major fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago. The “Wine, Women and Shoes” event is scheduled for March 10, said Robin Friedman, Big Dog Ranch’s director of development.

» RELATED: Dana Farber, three other charities won’t return to Mar-a-Lago in 2018

“Most of our supporters know that we do what we do for our dogs, and that just happens to be the best venue,” Friedman said of Mar-a-Lago. “In fact, it’s one of the only venues where we can do an event of our size in the daytime.”

The president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is co-chairing the Big Dog Ranch Mar-a-Lago event with Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

The animal-rescue group is expecting 600 attendees — up from 450 last year. The group raised $1.1 million at its Mar-a-Lago event last year, and Friedman said “we are definitely expecting more” for 2018.

» RELATED: Why the American Humane Association won’t return to Mar-a-Lago

Nonetheless, Palm Beach County event venues have made clear they would be receptive to discussing opportunities with charities considering a move.

The Eau, located on a 7-acre site with ocean views and lush tropical gardens in Manalapan, underwent a major transformation in 2013 — dropping the Ritz-Carlton name and rebranding itself as a beachfront getaway for out-of-town guests and locals looking for a beachfront retreat. The property consistently ranks among the best resorts in the state. This spring, Chinese President Xi Jinping stayed at the resort during his two-day summit with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Gold said the resort can accommodate as many as 500 guests for a seated dinner. In addition to the Cleveland Clinic, the Eau has received inquiries from other charities looking to move events away from Mar-a-Lago, Gold said.

“We do see a lot of charities that are checking spaces to see what can be done,” Gold said.

» RELATED: U.S.-China summit a boon for Palm Beach hotels

Dave Anderson, the general manager of the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, said the venue is also hearing from groups who may be interested in moving events previously held at Mar-a-Lago. The convention center can host groups of roughly 1,000 people.

“We have a beautiful ballroom,” Anderson said. “We have a fantastic chef. … It is a great venue for social events. The only thing I can’t provide is an ocean at my doorstep.”

One leader in Palm Beach’s business community urged the charitable groups to consider a change of venue.

The Palm Beach Chamber’s Baker minced no words Thursday about whether charities should abandon Mar-a-Lago this season.

“If you have a conscience, you’re really condoning bad behavior by continuing to be there,” Baker said. “Many say it’s the dollars (raised at the events) that count. Yes. But the integrity of any or organization rests on their sound decisions and stewardship.”

She added: “Personally, I do not feel that supporting him, directly or indirectly, speaks well of any organization.”

Baker’s comments are the strongest yet from Palm Beach County’s business community in the wake of Trump’s conflicting and, to many, polarizing statements made in the aftermath of the weekend violence.

Last Friday night, neo-Nazis and white supremacists marched through the northwestern Virginia town that is home to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. On Saturday, a suspected white supremacist rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19.

In response, Trump first blamed Saturday’s violence “on many sides,” but zeroed in on specific criticism of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis two days later after a backlash to his initial statement.

However, Trump doubled down on his first set of comments during Tuesday’s volatile news conference — and then tweeted support for Confederate monuments on Thursday.

No one from the Palm Beach County business community had spoken out publicly — until Baker.

» RELATED: Inside Mar-a-Lago for a charity ball with Trump and Jeff Sessions

Baker also expressed no patience for charities that will try to keep a low profile during this turbulent period.

“I hope that people will not maintain their neutrality,” she said. “This is the best time ever for people to show their backbone.”

Baker encouraged all charities to re-examine their core purpose for guidance about how to react to Trump’s comments.

In particular, she called out charities that advocate for social justice, the disabled, the poor and the sick.

“Look at your mission statement,” Baker said. “Are you living up to it?”

The Cleveland Clinic’s departure from Mar-a-Lago was no surprise after CEO Toby Cosgrove distanced himself from Trump following Tuesday’s comments. Cosgrove was one of a number of CEOs who stepped down from two White House business councils.

Trump later said he was disbanding that council and another after a rash of defections by other business industry leaders, including the CEOs of 3M, Campbell Soup Co. and United Technologies.

“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both,” the president tweeted. “Thank you all!”

But the pressure for the Cleveland Clinic to move its event from Mar-a-Lago started this past spring, with petitions and backlash against the Ohio-based hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as each planned lavish galas on the Palm Beach resort’s grounds during the first months of Trump’s presidency.

Driver of car that plowed into crowd protesting white nationalists identified

After violence caused authorities to stop a white nationalist rally before it began Saturday, a driver plowed his car into a crowd of protesters.

The driver has been identified as James Alex Fields, 20, of Ohio, according to CNN. He was arrested and charged with second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of failing to stop at an accident that resulted in a death, according to police.

Department of Justice officials opened a civil rights investigation Saturday into the deadly car attack, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and the Richmond field office of the FBI said. 

“The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.”

A 32-year-old woman who was crossing the street was killed and 19 people were injured, the Associated Press confirmed with hospital officials. Altogether 35 people were treated for injuries.

The incident took place approximately two hours after violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters caused authorities to declare the "Unite the Right" rally an unlawful assembly, The Associated Press reported. 

>> Read more trending news

The white nationalists were protesting the city of Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The group carried torches at a rally Friday night.

Several hundred protesters were marching when the car appeared to deliberately drive into a group of them, The Associated Press reported. Virginia State Police said injuries ranged from life-threatening to minor.

The Associated Press reported that the driver has been arrested.

This is a developing story, return for updates.

Country Concert Weather Forecast: Strong storms, rain making soggy conditions, concert still on schedule 

Despite strong storms Country Concert 2017 is still starting their Friday night schedule on time

A cold front moved through Shelby County drenching Country Concert goers in Fort Loramie.  

GUIDE: All you need to know about the region’s biggest, craziest country music tradition

Showers and storms will be approaching the northern Miami Valley around lunch. Active weather expected from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

RELATED: WHIO Interactive Radar 

Friday will be hot and muggy for the afternoon though and Fort Loramie will likely hit the middle 80s. Strong to damaging winds, large hail and minor flooding will be the main threats. Scattered storms will impact shows early in the day and some later ones like Old Dominion, but will be gone when Jake Owen who takes the stage at 10 p.m. that night. We will cool off to around 60 Friday night. 

RELATED: County-by-County Forecasts 

Saturday looks the be the best day of the concert by far. The cold front that passes Friday will bring a change to the air. It won’t be muggy and temperatures will reach the upper 70s for Country Concert. Plenty of sunshine expected for the afternoon so make sure you have sunscreen. Shows like Dan & Shay and Florida Georgia Line will have dry forecasts when they take the stage. 

Don't forget to turn on your push alerts on your WHIO Weather App to get any watches and warnings. You can also turn on "lightning detection" to be informed when storms are near you. Since you can add a location to the app, it will be helpful to make sure you have Fort Loramie set. 

 

Country music star donates to family of Franklin fan killed in crash

While mourning Courtney Trent’s death, her family received a heart-warming surprise: a country star’s addition to an online fund established to support the family.

MORE: Franklin woman killed in head-on crash after driver falls asleep at wheel

Trent, 20, died in a head-on car crash June 17 in Franklin after an oncoming driver fell asleep at the wheel. Her husband, James Daley, 20, was injured in the crash. The couple, parents of a 6-month-old son, were on her way home from celebrating her one-year wedding anniversary a day early, according to a longtime friend.

On June 19, a campaign to support the family on the website Meal Train, which allows community members to donate money and volunteer to provide dinners, was started.

One donation — in the amount of $1,135 — stood out.

Country singer Lee Brice made the donation with a note saying, “Y’all will be in my prayers.”

MORE: Franklin crash victim, 20, remembered as ‘amazing person’

Brice was Trent’s favorite musician, according to her brother, Trenten Scott.

Scott reached out to the country star on Twitter after his sister’s death. Brice privately messaged Scott soon after, asking how he could help, so Scott said he sent him a link to the online collection.

The page has raised more than $3,000 from dozens of people, including Brice.

All money collected, according to Scott, will go toward funeral expenses and the care of Trent’s six-month-old son.

“Our fans treat us so well,” Brice said. “We love them. I felt like I was part of their family and I wanted to help — just like I’d help my own family.”

“(Brice’s donation) had a huge impact,” Scott said. “That much money really helped me and my family out. I was very surprised. I have a bunch of respect for him. He’s a great person.”

The country star, known best for his songs “A Woman Like You,” “I Don’t Dance” and “Hard to Love,” said, “My fans are like family, so, being concerned, I checked out the link.”

No fish tale: Centerville man catches 50-inch muskie

Wow! That’s a big fish.

Centerville resident Cole Menker caught this 50-inch muskellunge “muskie” Saturday morning at Caesar Creek State Park in Warren County.

>> Caesar Creek Lake beach advisory for E. coli lifted

“Haven’t caught a lot of musk in my life but he looks like he’s a high 40,” Menker said in a Facebook video on his page before catching the fish on an eight-pound line.

Menker was fishing with his brother C.J. Menker on their late mother’s birthday.

>> WATCH: Sky7 takes a birds-eye view of Caesar Creek Lake

“She must have thrown one down from heaven,” Cole Menker said in his social media post.

The brothers have been fishing and hunting since they were young. On Saturday, they were practicing for an upcoming Mid-Ohio Saugeye Trail fish tournament when the muskie, a type of Pike, caught Menker’s hook.

After posing for pictures, Menker threw the fish back into the water.

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Trump EPA head praises Great Lakes program administration plans to eliminate

Environmental Protection Agency director Scott Pruitt may not be on board with White House plans to cut programs that directly affect the Great Lakes.

Pruitt defended the program before the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, in a report from the Detroit Free Press. Pruitt said cuts to the restoration program may cripple efforts to halt the invasive Asian carp, algae blooms that have become more problematic as agriculture has grown in the state, and efforts to protect drinking water.

STAY UPDATED: DDN’s Ohio Politics Blog

The Trump administration has proposed a 30 percent cut to the agencies budget along with eliminating 3,800 jobs. The budget isn’t expected to pass. 

Congressman Mary Kaptur and David Joyce of Ohio questioned Pruitt on whether there would be room for the program with the cut the administration planned. Both parties have been critical of the budget, which in early planning would cut funding to any geographically centered projects. That would affect funding for the  Great Lakes as well as other areas in Ohio.

Pruitt said he looked forward to working with Congress to make sure the funding remains in the budget for the Great Lakes. Kaptur invited Pruitt for a tour of the lakes. 

Actress, beauty queen found dead in Texas home

Former beauty queen and TV actress Margaret Ann Garza, 31, was found dead Tuesday at her Texas home.  

Police were called at 6:31 a.m. to a home near Austin, Texas, about a woman who was not breathing, according to Angelique Myers, a spokeswoman for the Round Rock Police Department.  

>> Read more trending news

Firefighters and medics were already at the scene when police arrived. Her death is under investigation and an autopsy is pending, Myers said.

Garza was crowned Miss Texas Belleza Latina in 2007 and Miss Belleza Latina International in 2008, according to an online obituary.  

She recently appeared in the AMC television series “The Son,” as well as in the movie “Mercury Plains” with Scott Eastwood, the obituary said. She is also in the movie “Pizza Joint,” which will premiere this month, according to her obituary.

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