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The CUTEST birthday party of the year features Fiona the Hippo

The Cincinnati Zoo has unveiled how it will celebrate a big birthday for its famous hippo, Fiona, who turns 1 on Jan. 24.

The zoo isn’t waiting until then to start the celebration, as the public can attend a huge event from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 20).

MORE: PHOTOS: Fiona at the Cincinnati Zoo

From authors who have penned books on Fiona to caretakers who have watched over the hippo that captivated the nation with her struggle to survive being born premature, Saturday’s calendar of events has a wide range of activities scheduled for the public.

MORE: Cincinnati Zoo’s baby hippo Fiona reaches another milestone on her journey to meet her parents

No birthday party would be complete without cake and ice cream, so Graeter’s and Busken will be on hand to supply the treats for those in attendance.

MORE: Kroger to celebrate Fiona the Hippo’s first birthday with special items

Fiona’s first year has been well documented on social media and has resulted in the hippo having a flavor of ice cream named after her and greeting cards, along with other items that feature the hippo’s name and or likeness on them.

MORE: Here’s how you can give the gift of Fiona for the holidays

The zoo says Fiona is now healthy and weighs more than 600 pounds. She has spent most of the winter inside since hippos do not do well in cold weather.

MORE: Fiona the hippo celebrates Christmas to the perfect song for her

HOW TO GO

What: Birthday Activities scheduled for Fiona the hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo.

When: Saturday, Jan. 20.

Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: The event is free with zoo admission.

Events and specials planned:

First 2,000 families will get a hippo bath mat (while supplies last)

Birthday enrichment throughout the Zoo

Get a commemorative Fiona postcard stamped with her footprint (while supplies last)

Sign Fiona’s birthday card from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hippo Cove

Busken cake and cookies from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (while supplies last)

Graeter’s ice cream from from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (while supplies last)

Hippo care team members will be available for chats and Q&A from 1 p.m – 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m– 2:30 p.m.

Hippo-themed activities in Education Center from noon – 3 p.m.

Cincy Shirts will be passing out Fiona temporary tattoos from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Specialists from Children’s Hospital who helped save Fiona will be here from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Scientists from CREW will have an interactive station to show how they performed an ultrasound on Bibi from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Authors of Fiona books will be available to sign books from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Zoo’s Gift Shop (bring your book or buy them at the Zoo)

Source: Cincinnati Zoo.

Premier Health to close Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton 

A city that has had its share of economic body blows took another one Wednesday with the news that Good Samaritan Hospital will close its doors by the end of the year and move 1,600 jobs out of the northwest Dayton neighborhood where it has served as an anchor for nearly a century.

The shocking news, announced Wednesday morning by Dayton-based Premier Health — Good Samaritan’s parent network — caught employees and city officials off-guard as few outside of Premier’s office suites apparently saw it coming.

“Not only was Good Sam an economic anchor to northwest Dayton, but they also were a neighborhood stabilizer,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein. “We are gravely concerned about an exit of that anchoring presence.”

Premier said its goal is to offer all employees other positions in the company. But that isn’t much solace for the neighborhood around the massive complex, which was first constructed in 1928 and added onto many times since.

RELATED: Special Report: Million dollar paychecks for top hospital CEOs

The satellite locations – Good Samaritan North in Englewood and Good Samaritan Health Center Huber Heights – will stay open. The hospital’s federally qualified health center that is on site will also remain open, which officials said is a busy ambulatory center with primary care and as well as some specialists.

Premier CEO Mary Boosalis said the emotional decision to close the hospital wasn’t an easy choice.

“On a personal note, I can tell you that this is the most difficult but necessary decision that most of us ever have to make,” she said, adding: “The consequences of inaction are far too great because we know the status quo is unsustainable in this environment.”

Premier officials said the aging Good Sam campus is expensive to keep up and duplicates many services five miles from Miami Valley Hospital, another Premier-affiliate. The population in the surrounding neighborhoods are declining and the hospital is operating at half capacity, with Premier already shifting beds to other hospitals in the system.

RELATED: Good Samaritan Hospital closing: What we know now

Premier — the region’s largest private employer — operates three other hospitals and a large physician network goal.

But like other hospital networks across the country, Premier has been betting that their future isn’t more hospitals; it’s outpatient facilities and smaller health care centers.

The typical hospital stay has been getting shorter and the number of people needing to be hospitalized is down. Premier’s hospitals in Dayton are at about 50 percent capacity.

Declining reimbursements and a tumultuous health care climate in Washington, D.C. also have hospital systems like Premier feeling squeezed.

“Dayton, Ohio, is essentially a microcosm of the pressures you see in our industry nationally,” Boosalis said.

RELATED: Local leaders ‘saddened’ by announced hospital closing

The 2222 Philadelphia Drive hospital campus is aging and Boosalis said it would cost more than $90 million or more to keep the facility up to code over the next decade.

Premier will also save about $7 million to $8 million annually in operating costs by shifting services to other hospitals.

Boosalis said by closing the hospital now instead of later “we’re doing this now from a position of strength so we can be around for another 125 years.

“I think the worst thing our board and myself could do would be not to pay attention to the factors in this industry and ignore the facts and then be in a crisis mode.”

The goal is to move major services to Miami Valley Hospital and avoid duplication of services.

The board of trustees has approved a “significant” donation to the site for redevelopment so the goal is to make it shovel ready with the exception of the remaining buildings and work with the community on the future of the location.

All the buildings will be razed with the exception of the federally qualified health center and the parking garage.

RELATED: 5 things you need to know about Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton

Premier plans to have meetings with community leaders, focus groups and surveys as part of its outreach activities while it makes a plan for the future of the Good Samaritan site. City Wide Development and Planning NEXT, a design firm based in Columbus, are working with Premier on the site plan.

“The input of the community is not only wanted, It’s absolutely critical as we work together to transform Good Samaritan Hospital as we go forward,” Boosalis said.

Bryan Bucklew, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, said there’s been huge changes in the health care delivery trends and health care policy that have shaped how hospitals make infrastructure decisions.

The average length of a hospital stay was 11 days in 1975, a little over 6 days in 2008, and then by 2015 was down to an average of 3 days.

“So in just six or seven years, you’ve decreased your length of stays by almost 49 percent,” he said.

RELATED: Premier Health, UnitedHealthcare have contract deal

On top of that, about 79 percent of patients in the Dayton area pay with Medicaid and Medicare, so dramatic policy changes and uncertain future of health care of those government insurance programs all shake up local hospitals.

Bucklew said said it’s important that the local hospital networks are all non-profits and locally headquartered, with trustees who live in the communities affected by their decisions. He said Premier is still being mission-minded when weighing decisions like closing Good Sam and if the hospital networks were instead for-profit, the community would feel the negative affects during tough financial times.

“If these organizations were run like for-profit entities, there would be whole service lines that would go away. No one would get into mental or behavioral health. No one would get into detox centers,” he said.

Scott McGohan, CEO of McGohan Brabender, the largest local employee benefits firm, said the employers he works with want to lower the cost of health care and part of making health care more affordable is making tough decisions like closing Good Sam.

“As we pepper these institutions to lower health care costs … it’s hard to condemn them for making these decisions,” said McGohan.

RELATED: Sale of Premier Health’s insurance line falls apart

Sam’s Club locations reportedly closing without notice

Sam’s Club store locations are reportedly closing across the nation, including some in Ohio.

Two Sam’s Club stores in Cincinnati have permanently closed without notice, WCPO reports.

The Loveland store on Fields-Ertel Road and the Oakley store on Marburg Avenue both permanently closed Thursday, WCPO reported. No locations in the Dayton region have been impacted. Sam’s Club has locations in Dayton, Beavercreek and Centerville.

The closures come as Walmart, which owns and operates Sam’s Club, announced it is increasing its starting salaries for U.S. workers. Employees will now make $11 an hour.

» RELATED: Walmart to roll out ‘Scan & Go’ technology in another 100 stores

Sam’s Club issued the following statement about the closures on Twitter:

“After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy. Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.”

A Sam’s Club location in the Dayton region will add new technology that will help customers get through the checkout lanes even quicker. Sam’s Club, located at 1111 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, recently filed a permit to add new self-checkout registers in the store. A spokeswoman for Sam’s Club told this news organization that the club is slated to have six updated traditional checkouts and eight, new self-checkout registers.

FIVE FAST READS

• In another blow for Elder-Beerman, Bon-Ton posts holiday sales decline

• Allegiant to add new flights at local airport

• German grocery chain Lidl halts plans to open local store

• At Home store to open in Dayton area this month

• Currency of the future? Some argue it’s bitcoin

Ohio’s first flu-related child death: Clayton boy, 4, dies at Dayton Children’s

A 4-year-old Clayton boy has died from the flu in Montgomery County.

The child, Jonah S. Rieben, of Clayton, was identifed by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office Wednesday morning. His official cause and manner have not been determined by the coroner’s office.

Rieben died on Jan. 6 after being admitted to Dayton Children’s Hospital. It is the first pediatric flu-related death in Ohio this year. Last flu season there were seven pediatric deaths in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Health announced Wednesday afternoon a 1-year-old boy from Lucas County also died from the flu, becoming the second pediatric flu-related death in the state. 

Jonah Rieben, who was born in Bulgaria, was adopted by the Rieben family in February 2017. He had 16 brother and sisters. “A brave warrior who fought and overcame many difficult battles throughout his short life, Jonah inspired us all with his strength and resiliency,” an obituary stated. 

“It is a tragedy anytime a loved one is lost and we extend our condolences to the family and friends who are affected,” said Dr. Michael Dohn, medical director, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

» RELATED: Is the ‘man flu’ real? Scientists claim men experience worse flu symptoms

Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months or older get the flu shot as soon as possible. It’s still not too late to get vaccinated as the flu season extends until the end of spring.

“No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to the flu. Our hearts go out the family,” said Jon Woltmann, infectious disease department at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “We encourage parents to get their children vaccinated to not only protect them, but children who are not able to get the vaccine due to underlying health conditions.”

FIVE FAST READS

• In another blow for Elder-Beerman, Bon-Ton posts holiday sales decline

• Allegiant to add new flights at local airport

• German grocery chain Lidl halts plans to open local store

• At Home store to open in Dayton area this month

• Currency of the future? Some argue it’s bitcoin

Watch the Georgia Senate 'Call the Dawgs' before championship game

The state of Georgia and city of Atlanta are ready for their moment in college football’s limelight.

>> Read more trending news

On Monday morning, members of the Georgia state Senate “called the Dawgs” during the session ahead of tonight’s College Football Playoff Championship in Atlanta.

Watch the video below:

Georgia and Alabama kick off at 8 p.m. ET at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

NEW FLIGHT: United to add nonstop flight to Houston from Dayton

United Airlines will add a new nonstop flight from the Dayton International Airport to Houston.

Dayton was one of eight cities chosen by United for the nonstop routes, according to the city. The new flights will begin June 7.

» MUST-READ TRAVEL NEWS: 7 major changes at the Dayton airport in 2017

The addition of Houston will be the 17th nonstop destination from Dayton airport. Dayton airport is currently served by Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Allegiant Air and United Airlines.

"For more than 30 years, United Airlines has helped connect Dayton to the world," said Michael Quiello, United's vice president of Corporate Safety. "We are excited to announce another new choice for our customers traveling to Houston and connecting to key destinations."

It’s been a year of changes for the Dayton International Airport — from fluctuating passenger traffic to new, discount flight destinations and a mix-up in air carriers.

In June 2016, Southwest Airlines halted service at the Dayton airport in favor of adding flights at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The move impacted the Dayton airport’s traffic numbers and average fare prices.

Allegiant, after its first full year of service in Dayton, continues its growth with new flights down south to Florida and Myrtle Beach.

Allegiant officials told this news organization that the low-cost carrier has seen continued success in the Dayton market since its first flight in April 2016.

FIVE FAST BUSINESS READS

• German grocery chain Lidl halts plans to open local store

• At Home store to open in Dayton area this month

• No more waiting? Kroger looking to eliminate checkout lanes

• Currency of the future? Some argue it’s bitcoin

• Southwest Airlines adds new flight at local airport

Santa Claus visits babies in Dayton NICU

Santa Claus paid a visit to the NICU of the Miami Valley Hospital tonight to spend time with its infants. 

The early holiday visit started at 6 p.m. at the Berry Women's Center Building. 

The NICU "elf" was there to take photos with Santa and the babies. MVH has approximately 30 to 40 infants in its NICU. 

>> Holiday Shopping Guide

According to the hospital, Santa's visit has been a positive experience for families over the years as they celebrate their babies first Christmas.

Steve Martin and Martin Short are coming to town — and here’s how to get your tickets

The famous actor-comedy duo Steve Martin and Martin Short are headed to Huber Heights to appear at Rose Music Center for one night only on Saturday, May 26, 2018, and at PNC Pavilion in Cincinnati on Sunday, May 27, 2018.

The show, "An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life," will include stand-up, film clips, musical numbers and conversations about their lives in show business. Martin and Short will be joined by the Grammy-winning bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers and jazz pianist and Jimmy Kimmel Live band member Jeff Babko.

>> The holiday shows and concerts you must see

Tickets for the Huber Heights show are on sale now at www.Ticketmaster.com and www.Rosemusiccenter.com. Charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. 

*Ticket prices include parking and are subject to applicable Ticketmaster fees. Dates, times and artists subject to change without notice. All events rain or shine. 

Tickets for the Cincinnati show are on sale now at www.Ticketmaster.com and www.PNCPavilion.com. Charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. 

*Ticket prices include parking and are subject to applicable Ticketmaster fees. Dates, times and artists subject to change without notice. All events rain or shine.

>> 6 great places to eat near Rose Music Center

ABOUT THE PERFORMERS

Steve Martin has won an Academy Award®, five Grammy Awards, an Emmy® Award, the Mark Twain Award and the Kennedy Center Honors. Many of Martin’s films are considered modern classics, including “The Jerk,”” Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” “Roxanne,” “Parenthood,” “L.A. Story” and “Father of the Bride.” 

As an author, Martin’s work includes the novel “An Object of Beauty,” the play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” a collection of comic pieces “Pure Drivel,” a best-selling novella “Shopgirl” and his memoir “Born Standing Up.” 

His latest play, “Meteor Shower,” will premiere on Broadway this Nov. 29th in a production starring Emmy Award winner Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Tony winner Laura Benanti and Jeremy Shamos, and directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks. 

Martin is also an accomplished Grammy Award-winning, bluegrass banjoist and composer. In 2013, he released his third full-length album, “Love Has Come For You,” a unique collaboration with songwriter Edie Brickell. “Love Has Come For You” won a Grammy for “Best American Roots Song” for the title track and inspired their musical “Bright Star.”

Bright Star received five Tony Award nominations and received Outstanding New Broadway Musical and Outstanding New Score at the Outer Critics Circle Awards. Martin and Brickell’s second album together, “So Familiar,” was released on Rounder Records and featured 12 remarkable songs that bought the acclaimed duo’s musical collaboration into fresh creative territory. Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers recently released their newest collaboration, “The Long-Awaited Album,” on Rounder Records. 

Martin Short is a beloved comedian and actor, whose career spans television, film and theater. Since his breakout performances on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, Short has become a household name with roles in feature films including the science fiction comedy “Innerspace,” “Three Amigos” and as the quirky wedding planner, Franck Eggelhoffer, in the “Father of the Bride” series. 

He has appeared in Broadway productions including his 2006 revue “Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me” and the 1998 revival of Neil Simon’s “Little Me.” 

Short has earned two Emmy Awards for his writing in SCTV Network 90, as well as his involvement in the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks. He is also recognized for his performances in several television series, including “Damages,” “Primetime Glick,” “Merlin” and “SCTV Network 90.” Short also starred opposite Maya Rudolph in NBC’s comedy show “Maya & Marty.”

Have you seen this Kettering native’s newest MTV show? 

The hits just keep coming for one of Kettering’s hardest working sons. 

Skateboarding icon and reality TV star Rob Dyrdek has yet another show. 

MTV begun airing “Amazingness,” the fourth of Dyrdek’s shows on its network in December.

A MTV NEWS story describes the show as “an irreverent and hilarious competition series which features the pro skateboarder (who serves as host and executive producer) introducing the world to the most ridiculously talented young people around.”

>> RELATED:  See Kettering native Rob Dyrdek’s wedding pictures 

The show follows “Fantasy Factory,” “Rob and Big” and “Ridiculousness,” which returned in December as well. 

>> That time Big Black from “Rob & Big” with Rob Dyrdek said what nearly everyone felt about Big Butter Jesus 

>> Christopher ‘Big Black’ Boykin of MTV's ‘Rob & Big’ dead at 45

>> New shop in the Oregon District inspired by ‘Queen of Dayton’s Red Light District’

FREE BBQ FOR A YEAR: New local Dickey’s BBQ Pit launches specials today

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit , which opened at 752 Gardner Road in Springboro three weeks ago, will launch a month of introductory special offers today with a giveaway of “free barbecue for a year” to three customers.

The restaurant across Ohio 741 from the Settler’s Walk retail center is the first Dickey’s in the Dayton area, and it is operated by Dickey’s franchise owners Kevin and Randy Daniel, who oversee two other Cincinnati-area locations.

RELATED: The nation’s largest BBQ chain opens 1st Dayton-area restaurant (Nov. 12, 2017)

The new Springboro restaurant will offer $2 Pulled Pork Sandwiches on Saturday, December 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Then, the new Dickey’s Barbecue Pit will offer the following specials and giveaways over the next four weeks:

Thirsty Thursdays: Customers will receive a free Big Yellow Cup with free refills all day.

Philanthropy Fridays: Customers who donate to Dickey’s charitable foundation, Barbecue, Boots & Badges, will receive a gift card as a thank you for their donation. All uniformed first responders also receive 50 percent off their meal.

RELATED: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit to open Springboro location (August 2016)

Smokin’ Saturday: Customers may register to win free barbecue for a year.

Kids Eat Free Sundays: Kids eat free with an adult purchase of $10 or more.

“Dickey’s Barbecue Pit always has been a family-run, family-oriented business and that is something we pride ourselves on,” Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., said in a release. “Having experienced franchisees, such as the Daniel brothers, eager to open new locations is a testament not only to the success of our business, but the brand as a whole.”

RELATED: Food truck specializing in BBQ to move to the next level: a restaurant

Founded in 1941, Dickey’s bills itself as “the nation’s largest barbecue chain,” operating more than 550 locations in 45 states. The Dallas-based chain operates locations in Mason, South Lebanon and Amelia in southwest Ohio, and three in central Ohio north of Columbus.

RELATED: Local BBQ restaurant to add 2 new locations

It offers traditional Texas-style barbecue meats that are smoked in-house at each restaurant. In 2016, Dickey’s won first place on a “Top 100 Movers and Shakers” list assembled by Fast Casual, a publication and web site that cover the fast-casual segment of the restaurant industry.

The Springboro restaurant’s regular hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information about the Springboro location, check out its Facebook page or call (937) 550-4826.

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