January 2018 Around Town 3

Police Department’s K9s 
Receive Body Armor

West Chester Police Department’s K9 officers, Ciro and Blek, have each received bullet and stab protective vests thanks to a charitable donation from nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Ciro and Blek’s vests are sponsored by Vikki Johnston of West Chester and are embroidered with the sentiment, “Bless and protect this K9 and their partner.”

Blek and handler Officer Rob Obermeyer have worked together since Blek joined WCPD in 2011. Ciro joined the department in 2015 and has worked with handler Officer Michael Blankenship for nearly a year. The West Chester Township Police Department K9 Unit was founded in 1993, and K9 officers are certified for both Patrol and Narcotics work. The department intends to add a third K9 officer to its unit to fill a vacancy left by the retirement of K9 Rex in March 2017. For additional information about the West Chester Police Canine Unit, watch: VIMEO.com/162426540.

Media Center Makeover

The Lakota West High School community, in partnership with IKEA West Chester, recently celebrated a completely refurbished space inside its media center. The global retailer’s in-kind donation of more than $11,000 in mostly furniture, and some lighting and other decorative items, transformed the space into a more contemporary learning environment for all students.

The imaginative combination of various modern work surfaces and seating accommodates individual workstations, as well as small and large group seating areas that may be used for collaboration. In addition, the media center now has a new makerspace area to be used as a creative outlet for students and a private meeting room. IKEA is planning a similar contribution next school year to benefit the shared learning spaces at Lakota East. LakotaOnline.com

West Chester Academy Expands, Adds New Program

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, West Chester Academy recently unveiled a new studio expansion that will provide additional space for dance competition teams as well as those learning aerial silks and lyra hoops. The new studio is 45’ x 31’ and adds to an already robust music, dance and gymnastics facility.

In addition to an expansion, West Chester Academy announced plans to introduce a Go Ninja Program, a new gymnastics craze sweeping the nation, largely due to the popular television program, “American Ninja Warrior.” According to USA Gymnastics magazine, the sport of ninja is really a collaboration of movement. Gymnastics-based ninja classes may include obstacle training, trampoline training, gymnastics and tumbling. West Chester Academy will launch Go Ninja classes beginning on Monday evenings in January. WestChesterAcademy.com

Lakota Educator Recognized

Keith Koehne, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Lakota Local Schools, has been selected as a Warren Fellow for 2018 by the Midwest Suburban Superintendents Association (MSSA).  One of only two educators from the state of Ohio to be awarded this honor, Koehne will be invited to attend two MSSA meetings during his Fellowship year to connect with and learn from established educational leaders. Superintendent Matthew Miller commented, “Keith Koehne is an incredibly dedicated leader for Lakota Local Schools. He is a visionary for the district, working diligently to foster innovation in the classrooms.”

Koehne’s experience as both an administrator and teacher spans 24 years. Prior to joining Lakota this year, Koehne spent the last four years as the assistant superintendent at Loveland City Schools and was formerly a principal at both the elementary and junior high levels at Mariemont City Schools. LakotaOnline.com

New Boys & Girls Club 
Celebrates Grand Opening

The new, $6.8 million Boys & Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty celebrated its grand opening in December. The 30,000 square foot club features a full-sized indoor gym, an outdoor basketball/volleyball court, an art room, media center, green room, four large class rooms, three flexible classrooms, a café, clinic, open meeting spaces and offices.

West Chester philanthropist Patti Alderson, who is assistant treasurer and resource development officer for the club, led fundraising efforts for the project. The Boys & Girls Club will be open Monday through Friday after school and full days in the summer. New members will be accepted January 4. BGCWCL.com

Lakota East Band Recognized 
for Excellence

The Lakota East Marching Thunderhawks completed an award-winning season in November. Under the direction of Band Director Rob Tanis and Assistant Band Director Kevin Engel, the Marching Thunderhawks presented an entertaining show titled “The Flight of Spring,” which featured the life cycle of the monarch butterfly set to the tunes of classic composers. The band earned all Superior Ratings at Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) competitions, placed third at Bands of America Regionals in Dayton and earned the record-breaking honor of a tenth place finish in the Bands of America Super Regional Finals in Indianapolis.

They concluded the season with a trip to Orlando, FL, where they participated in a Disney Performing Arts Workshop and played for the Thanksgiving Parade of Bands at Epcot Center. The Marching Thunderhawks are recognized for their musicality, precision and overall showmanship. Congratulations for a job well done! LakotaEastBands.org