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Your Community Press newspaper serving Miami Township and Milford




New fire station planned for eastern Miami Township By Cindy Schroeder

MIAMI TOWNSHIP — Eastern Miami Township in Clermont County now has a fire and EMS station aimed at reducing response times in the fast-growing area and improving fire and ambulance service throughout the township. At a Jan. 2 open house, firefighters showed off the township’s fourth fire station, a temporary facility that’s been operating since Nov. 17 behind a retail center at Ohio 131 and Sugar Camp Road. Officials plan to build a permanent Station 29 on property next door. Miami Township Fire Chief Steve Kelly said people al-


About 60 people attended a Jan. 14 Milford Planning Commission hearing on a proposed zone change that would allow construction of 92 apartments on the former Milford Main Middle School site. The next public hearing will be Feb. 3 before city council.

Milford City Council to hear zone change for apartments By Cindy Schroeder

MILFORD — Milford on Main moved a step closer to reality after Milford Planning Commission voted 3-to-1 Jan. 14 to recommend approval of a zone change – albeit with conditions – that would allow construction of a 92-unit apartment complex on a 3.51-acre site between Main Street and Lila Avenue that’s now home to the former Milford Main Middle School. Milford Planning Commission member Oliver Roe recused himself from the vote, citing the appearance of a possible conflict of interest.

The proposed zone change from “I-Institutional District to R-5 Multi-Family Apartment Complex District” with an Old Mill and Planned Development Overlay now goes before Milford City Council on Feb. 3 for a public hearing and a final vote later. Five people in the standing room only crowd at the planning commission meeting spoke in support of the project, saying the project targeting seniors will fill a need in the community. They said no one has offered a better plan for the site. Jeff Johnson, operations manager for Milford Schools, said Jim Cohen and Real Estate

Ventures Capital was the only group to offer to purchase the former middle school that needs costly repairs. “One of the biggest fears that the district has and the BAC (Business Advisory Council) recognized, was a potential catastrophic failure of the building, roof structure or its support systems,” Johnson said. Last month, he said one of the building’s two boilers failed. Sixteen people spoke against the proposed zone change, saying the project would increase traffic in an already congested area. Some called for a traffic

ready have noticed a difference. “A lot of our residents are making the comment, ‘You got here so fast,’’’ he said. In the past, firefighter/ paramedics traditionally responded from the central station – the township’s busiest – which often required large vehicles to travel roads that weren’t conducive to large fire trucks, the fire chief said. Kelly said response times are especially critical in life and death situations. “The American Heart Association says that every minute that somebody’s down in cardiac arrest, is not breathSee STATION, Page A2


Officials in Clermont County’s Miami Township hope to start building Station 29, a permanent fire & EMS station serving the eastern part of the township, in 2016. The station will be at Ohio 131 and Sugar Camp Road.

See COUNCIL, Page A2

Gatch: A Milford First UMC and music maven By Jeanne Houck

Orpha Ann Gatch was a real presence at Milford First United Methodist Church, whether she was playing the organ or not. Which surely pleased her ancestors. “Orpha Ann Gatch not only is a lifelong member of Milford First United Methodist, but also a link to Philip Gatch, one of the founders of the church in 1797,” said the Rev. Mark Weatherman, pastor of discipleship at the church. “Ann has been an encouragement to the members of Milford First for years. “Not only in her 45 years as

organist, but in the last few years when she was always in the fourth pew, lectern side, smiling, enjoying the worship,” Weatherman said. “Ann will be sorely missed.” Gatch died at her home in Terrace Park Jan. 9. She was 95-years-old. Besides being church organist for 45 years, Gatch taught music at Cincinnati Country Day School in Indian Hill for 35 years. She earned a bachelor degree at the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in music at the University of Michigan. Gatch was a co-host of “Sharps and Flats,” a musical quiz radio program for children

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on WKRC in the 1950s. She gave private piano lessons to students of all ages during her teaching career and after retirement. Gatch enjoyed the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera and in recent years sponsored some performances. “Ann Gatch was a true patron of the fine arts,” said Tim Carpenter, who is director of music at Milford First United Methodist Church, as well as a choral music teacher at Milford Junior High School, co-director of the Clermont Festival Chorale and vice president of the Greater Cincinnati Choral Consortium. Gatch also was a patriot.

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She served in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) for the U.S. Navy during World War II, operating a flight simulator at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida designed to teach returning pilots the latest techniques in instrument flying at night and under adverse weather conditions. Gatch is survived by her sister, Diana Avril (Tom), her brother, Lewis Gatch (Noralee), 12 nieces and nephews and 17 grandnieces and grandnephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, three sisters and a brother. Gatch is the daughter of Orpha Gatch, after whom the Cler-

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mont County League of Women Voters named a citizenship award given annually at a “suffragist event” to recognize the recipient’s volunteerism and leadership qualities. Meanwhile, the family of Orpha Ann Gatch will visit with friends at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 16, at Milford First United Methodist Church at 541 Main St. A funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials for “at home care” may be made to Hospice of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 633597, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45263. The family is being served by Evans Funeral Home in Milford.

Vol. 34 No. 42 © 2015 The Community Press ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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