Ohio's Medicaid director says roughly 61-Thousand residents on the Federal-state health program are poised to lose their coverage the end of this week. The beneficiaries face dis-enrollment Saturday after failing to verify their Medicaid eligibility as required by the Federal government. The process was on hold in Ohio for a year as the Federal health care law was implemented and as the state moved to a new computer system. Ohio recently restarted the checks. Democrats have raised concerns about whether recipients received renewal notices or had trouble submitting their information.
A Harrison County man has been sentenced to eight years in prison and labeled a Tier-III sex offender after pleading guilty in Stark County Court to charges in the kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old Canton girl. 21-year-old Justin Gerber of Cadiz had been facing up to 11 years behind bars on each of the charges, but got a lesser sentence as part of a plea-bargain. Meanwhile, a 14-year-old co-defendant has also admitted his role in the crimes that happened in a Canton home last September. He'll be sentenced on convictions for kidnapping and gross sexual imposition on March 10. Another 15-year-old co-defendant from Canton is awaiting a March 17 pre-trial on charges of rape and kidnapping.
A Summit County Court jury is now deliberating the case of 41-year-old Daniel Tighe of Akron, charged with two counts of aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse and several other charges in the murders of his girlfriend and her five-year-old son. Closing arguments were heard and the jury got the case without the accused taking the stand in his own defense. He allegedly killed 31-year-old Wendy Ralston and her young son in July 2013, then wrapped the bodies in bedding and buried them in a shallow grave behind the victims' home on Stone Creek Drive in Tallmadge. Tighe faces a possible death sentence if convicted as charged.
Four Asian men believed to be from New York have been named in an indictment charging them with being involved in a complex identity theft ring. Channel 5 in Cleveland reports that warrants have been issued for the men following the 84-count indictment announced on Thursday by police in Macedonia, who say the accused had victimized at least 65 people in several areas around northeast Ohio – including Akron, Hudson, Macedonia, Medina and Montville Township. The men had been arrested last December after allegedly stealing the credit card information from a Montville Township Police Lieutenant and all four had posted bond...but now are being asked to surrender to face the charges from the indictment in Summit County Court.
Canton Police this week culminated a long investigation when they raided a home and seized crack cocaine, marijuana and a loaded handgun that had been reported stolen, arresting the man inside on a list of charges. 27-year-old Peter Clark Jr of Third Street SE was taken into custody at his home near Hartford Middle School, charged with cocaine trafficking and possession, receiving stolen property, weapons under disability and other counts.
The State Highway Patrol says a Canton man was drunk and packing heat when they pulled him over on a traffic stop this week. 31-year-old Michael Rex of Garfield Avenue SW was stopped on a traffic violation just before Midnight Wednesday night at 19th Street and Cleveland Avenue, where the trooper found he was under the influence and had a loaded handgun in his door with a small amount of marijuana inside the vehicle. He was booked into Stark County Jail on charges of OVI, driving without a license, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, having a weapon under disability and several other counts.
An Akron man has been sent to prison for running a meth lab in his home. 29-year-old Michael Jones was arrested September 30 after authorities investigating that tell-tale chemical smell found the chemicals and equipment used to make the illicit drug. Officers then found Jones hiding in the bedroom of a 15-year-old girl while she was sleeping and admitted that he had been making meth. A Summit County Court jury this week found him guilty on charges of illegal manufacture and assembly of chemicals, child endangering and other charges. The judge immediately sentenced Jones to seven years in prison.
It didn't take long for US Senator Rob Portman to throw-down the gloves and go at it with his new Democratic opponent in the 2016 race. Former Governor Ted Strickland announced his candidacy on Wednesday and almost immediately, Portman's campaign launched a “Retread Ted” website...which was followed Thursday with web banner ads criticizing Strickland for the high number of jobs that were lost in Ohio while he was Governor. Portman said he wanted to set-out the differences between the two immediately while Strickland blamed the job losses on a nation-wide recession.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources released data this week indicating there was quite a drilling boom for oil and natural gas in Ohio last year. Over 3.5-Million barrels of oil and 164-Billion cubic feet of natural gas were pulled from wells during the past three months of 2014...meaning that oil production more than doubled and natural gas production tripled in comparison to the previous year's totals. The ODNR says that 779 out of the 828 wells that were tapped produced at least some oil or gas last year, compared with just 352 wells that were productive in 2013.
After Akron city officials went to Columbus to argue their point, members of the Ohio House Finance Committee have agreed to remove language from the budget that banned municipalities from implementing local hiring goals when awarding publicly-funded construction contracts. City Council President Gary Moneypenny and others argued against the budget language earlier this week, defending Akron's local-hiring thresholds that will increase from the current 30-percent to 50-percent by the year 2018. The hiring-goal ban was supported by officials from the Ohio Contractors Association, which had previously filed a lawsuit against the city that was later withdrawn.
On the heels of a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indictment, the man accused of shooting to death three other men and wounding three other people in a Warrensville Heights barber shop saw his bond raised to five-Million dollars on Thursday. 20-year-old Douglas Shine Jr of Cleveland is charged with multiple counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, felonious assault and other charges in the February 5 shooting that killed Brandon White, Walter Barfield and the owner of the barber shop, William Gonzalez. He's also accused as the gunman in a January shooting in which the victim was left with 13 bullet wounds. A career criminal with a rap sheet going back to when he was ten years old, Shine had been out of prison for less than two months before he was arrested for the latest murders.
The woman who allegedly shot to death the brother of Cleveland's police chief has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities in Pittsburgh on Thursday confirmed that 36-year-old Dana Johnson died at a hospital, where she was taken after shooting herself during a roadside stand-off with Pennsylvania State Troopers last Tuesday morning. Cleveland Police found the body of William D. Williams in his Grantwood Avenue home shortly before 3:00AM Tuesday, dead of a bullet wound to the head after a domestic incident. An arrest warrant was issued for Johnson, who was spotted and pulled-over along I-376 in Brighton Township. She held a gun to her head and shot herself when Troopers approached. Authorities say the woman had left a note in her car, detailing how she wanted her remains disposed.
A man and woman were taken into custody after a long, 21-mile chase that wound through several communities. Akron Police attempted to pull-over a Cadillac Escalade at East Wilbeth and Hammel but the driver refused to stop, then sideswiped another vehicle as the chase continued along State Route 8 near the Perkins Street exit. Another collision occurred near Macedonia as the fleeing driver made his way onto I-271 and headed north until he lost control and went off the road near Oakwood Village. Authorities say the couple in the car were delivering cocaine to an Akron home when they were spotted. The driver, 32-year-old Jessie Benovic of Cleveland, was charged with a list of counts and additional charges are pending. The woman was not charged.
Akron Police are asking the public for help finding the man who kicked-in the door to his ex-girlfriend's home, then rammed a police cruiser while fleeing the scene. 24-year-old Lavonte Dukes of West Miller Avenue in Akron is wanted on charges of felonious assault on a police officer, felonious assault, aggravated burglary, child endangering, domestic violence and aggravated menacing. Dukes allegedly went to the home of his ex-girlfriend on North Walnut Street after Midnight Thursday morning and got inside, waving a gun around and threatening another man inside, forcing him to flee. Dukes then reportedly tried to take the couple's baby from the home and put the gun into the mother's mouth, threatening to kill her before fleeing after the victim called 911. As he drove-off, responding officers had to jump out of the way of the minivan he was driving before it slammed into the cruiser. He was last seen driving away on West Market Street. Lavonte Lee Dukes is a black male, six-feet-four and 200 pounds and should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490, the US Marshals Service at 866-4-WANTED or Summit County CrimeStoppers at 330-434-COPS.
The vote was unanimous and the decision is final. Starting next year, the City of Canton will have just one high school. Board members voted 5-0 to approve consolidating Timken and McKinley High Schools, despite weeks of protests and arguments against the plan from students and parents in the Timken area. The Timken building will become a district-wide “freshman academy”, with students in grades 10-12 attending McKinley. Board members say their hands were forced by the fact the school system is struggling to cope with declining population and enrollment, coupled with growing financial issues and redundancies.
A man who was drunk when he crashed his ATV and killed a passenger has been sentenced to prison. 29-year-old Nathan Bing appeared in Stark County Court, where the judge handed him a three-year sentence but said shock probation might be considered after 30 days if he follows the rules and stays out of trouble. The crash that happened during the early-morning hours on September 28 last year claimed the life of 54-year-old Judy Casto. Bing previously pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and OVI. His blood-alcohol content at the time of the wreck was three times the legal limit.
The State Highway Patrol is still investigating a two-car crash that claimed the life of an elderly woman in Stark County’s Nimishillen Township. Authorities say 92-year-old Helen Hildenbiddle of Sebring was driving west on US 62 shortly before 4:00PM when her car was hit as she began a turn onto Beech Street NE. The woman died about two hours later at Mercy Medical Center. The driver of the other car and a passenger, both 17 and both from Alliance, were taken to Alliance Community Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No other details of the wreck were provided.
At least four of the six units in a Lake Township apartment building were gutted when flames tore through the complex on Wednesday night. Crews from Greentown Fire and seven other neighboring departments battled the blaze at 3886 Timberview Street NW after the call that came-in around 7:20PM when the blaze began in the rear of the building. Firefighters were hampered by the fact they could only find two hydrants that hadn’t been frozen solid by the frigid temperatures. Two firefighters were taken to the hospital for treatment after suffering minor injuries and the cause is still under investigation. None of the residents were injured.
With the number of people dealing ginseng in Ohio rising rapidly, state officials want a share of the benefits...and are looking toward renewing the regulations for sale of the medicinal root. In 2013, there were 49 registered dealers in the state but last year, that number rose to 70 as the number of diggers nearly doubled during the same period to last year’s level of over 89-hundred. The dried ginseng root is considered highly valuable for its medicinal benefits and sells at prices up to 800 dollars a pound. Among the proposed changes are charging fees for both dealer and digger permits. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will conduct a public hearing next month to discuss the proposed regulations.
A profitability plan for two of American Electric Power’s aging coal plants has gotten a thumbs-down from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. While commissioners ruled this week that the plan was legal, it said there was no benefit to customers. AEP wanted authorization of its plan to cover operational costs for its share of the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation, which includes power plants in southern Ohio and southern Indiana.