Ohio State University trustees have approved a $5.5 billion annual budget and authorized new construction projects that include a new student-athlete development center and multi-sport arena. The new budget is an increase of more than 6 percent over last year's, while OSU continues to maintain a freeze on in-state undergraduate tuition, room and board, and fees for this academic year.
Ohio's utility regulator is recommending that Columbia Gas be fined $400,000 for a gas explosion that destroyed a suburban Columbus house and damaged others nearby.
A report released on Friday by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio recommends the gas company be fined for leaving an abandoned and mismarked gas line connected to the main line. A city water company employee thought it was a water line and turned on the gas, which filled the unoccupied house in Upper Arlington.
The March 21 blast leveled the house and made others around it uninhabitable.
The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1fLi5NM ) reports that Columbia officials had contended that they never received an order to disconnect the line decades ago.
The recommendation will be forwarded to PUCO commissioners.
A former northern Ohio lawmaker is appealing his conviction on a felony theft charge.
Republican Steve Kraus of Sandusky filed the appeal Thursday.
He was sentenced to two years' probation in mid-August. The 56-year-old Kraus forfeited his seat in the Ohio House after a jury convicted him in July.
He was accused of stealing antiques and other items from a home while doing work as an auctioneer. His attorney has said Kraus took items from a Port Clinton home to inventory them for auction at a real estate agent's request.
Kraus was indicted last November, days after he won his House seat. It was his first term in office.
A southwest Ohio amusement park will give free admission to active fire and police personnel this weekend.
Kings Island says they can also buy discounted tickets for family members. The park in the northeast Cincinnati suburb of Mason says the offer includes firefighters, EMTs, police and state troopers, correction officers, 911 dispatchers and others involved in law enforcement, investigations and emergency response.
A photo ID is required.
The Cedar Fair Entertainment Co.-owned park says the first 1,000 children each day get a fireman's hat, and there will be opportunities to interact with emergency response teams, see their vehicles and learn about CPR and child car safety.
Entrepreneurs and others who want to get involved in the industry if marijuana is legalized in Ohio are gathering for a weekend seminar in Columbus.
The event on Saturday and Sunday at a hotel is being sponsored by marijuana industry consultants ComfyTree. The "Cannabazaar" will feature a presentation from ResponsibleOhio, the group that got a marijuana legalization issue on this year's November ballot. Other pro-pot organizations will also discuss their ballot proposals.
Other speakers will talk about marketing, advertising, finance and activism as they relate to the cannabis industry.
Passage of the proposal, known as Issue 3, would make Ohio a rare state to go from entirely outlawing marijuana to allowing it for all uses in a single vote.
An Akron man was convicted on Friday in Summit County Court on charges he repeatedly raped a teenage girl. The jury found 35-year-old Jeremy Scott of Palmetto Avenue guilty on ten counts each of rape of a child under the age of 13 and sexual battery, plus four counts of gross sexual imposition. Scott repeatedly assaulted a young family member over a period of five years...beginning when the victim was seven years old and continuing until she was 12. He will be back in court to learn his sentence on October 1 and faces a possible sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.
Guilty as charged were the verdicts returned by a Summit County Court jury on Friday in the aggravated murder trial of 23-year-old Michael Hendon of Akron. He and his brother, Eric, were accused of forcing their way into the Barberton home of 42-year-old John Kohler in an armed robbery for drugs and cash, then shooting the man to death along with his 18-year-old daughter, Ashley Carpenter and 14-year-old son, David Kohler-Carpenter on New Year’s Eve 2013. The father’s long-time girlfriend survived the shooting and testified at trial that Eric Hendon was the gunman in the crime. He faces a possible death sentence if convicted when his trial begins. Michael Hendon was convicted on multiple counts of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and felonious assault. He returns to court for sentencing on September 8, when he faces a possible life prison term with no parole. Eric Hendon's trial is slated to begin October 13.
A man who was sent to prison for 16 years for stabbing a Stark County woman has seen his sentence reduced by the Fifth District Court of Appeals. The Canton Repository reports that 56-year-old Michael Bishop saw his prison term reduced to just eight years after the appellate court ruled that a Stark County judge made a mistake in ruling that the crime resulted in serious physical harm prior to forwarding the man's case to the jury as a repeat violent offender. Bishop attacked his victim in June last year, stabbing her several times in the neck and stomach in the 400 block of McKinley Avenue SW. Last September, he was convicted on a felonious assault charge and acquitted on a more serious count of attempted murder.
A man identified as the suspect in break-ins at a Springfield Township storage facility didn't keep his word, failing to turn himself in to police as promised on Thursday. As a result, police are once again on the hunt for 47-year-old James Moore, whose last known address was on Jewett Street in Akron. Moore was tabbed as the man who burglarized 14 units at Park Place Equipment Storage in the 3200 block of East Waterloo Road between August 15 and 18. Among the items that were ripped-off were the military items being saved by a Marine from Akron who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Board of Directors at Cleveland Clinic unanimously approved a plan this week to complete the take-over of Akron General Medical Center, a move that was expected after the organization purchased a minority stake in AGMC at a cost of 100-Million dollars last year. When the deal was announced, officials said it came with an option for Cleveland Clinic to take full control of the Akron facility after one year. The take-over is contingent on approval by the Federal Trade Commission and the Ohio Attorney General's office...but could be finalized before the end of the year. Once the change is complete, Akron General will keep its name and officials in Cleveland have said that there should be no changes for the 53-hundred Akron employees...adding that the Board of Directors at AGMC will continue to serve, but only in an advisory role for the first time in the hospital's more than 100-year history.
A professor at Kent State University accused of having sex with a teenage boy this week appeared in Akron Municipal Court on Friday to plead not guilty to the charges he faces. 44-year-old Willie Harrell saw his bond set at 25-Thousand dollars. An Akron Police officer responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle parked at Smith Elementary School in Kenmore around 11:00PM Wednesday encountered Harrell and a 15-year-old boy as they got out of the back of his SUV in the parking lot, where both admitted they had communicated online and agreed to meet for sex. Harrell faces initial charges of importuning and attempted unlawful sexual contact with a minor in addition to the original charge of adult curfew violation. Harrell was immediately placed on suspension at Kent State, where he had taught English since 2003.
A 30-year-old man accused in the slayings of a Tuscarawas County couple appeared in Coshocton County Court on Friday, copping a plea deal that saw a possible death sentence taken off the table for his crimes. Robert Clark is one of two men accused in the January murders of Doyle and Lillian Chumney, who were abducted from their Strasburg home, bound and gagged and driven in their own car to a remote country road near Baskersville, where both were shot before the car was torched to cover the evidence. Clark pleaded guilty on Friday to charges including aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery. The family members of the victims agreed to the deal and Clark was immediately sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. He's also a suspect in a series of robberies that were committed in West Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia while he was on the run from the law following the murders. 22-year-old co-defendant Jeffrey Stewart remains behind bars, charged in a 15-count indictment related to the crime.
There's been an up-tick in the number of children here in Ohio who've received the vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella. According to a report in the Plain Dealer, almost 96-percent of children between the ages of 19 and 35 months received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine last year...an increase of about 10-percent compared to the previous year and well ahead of the national rate of 91.5-percent. The Ohio Department of Health says a contributing factor may have been increased concern over infection after measles outbreaks in the state over the past year.
Upset over the fact that someone's selling Confederate Flags at the Lorain County Fair, the county's Democratic Party has packed-up its gear and left the Fairgrounds in protest. Banners and party literature were removed...leaving an empty table and a couple of chairs for local party candidates to use for greeting potential voters. The local Democratic Party Chairman says the flag is offensive and that he can't allow his organization to be part of an event where it's allowed to be sold. The President of the Fair Board told a local newspaper that several people are in support of allowing sales of the flag...while the vendor selling them says it has nothing to do with slavery.
The Portage County Sheriff's office says they've managed to locate and arrest a couple who had stolen lottery tickets from convenience stores on several occasions. The Sheriff's office says several tips from the public led to the identification of the man and woman, who most recently walked into a Circle-K on Waterloo Road in Randolph...with the woman distracting the clerk while the man snatched the Lottery tickets from behind the counter. A Sheriff's official told the Record-Courier that the couple has now confessed to at least five thefts at locations including Brimfield, Kent, Randolph, Rootstown and Streetsboro. Names of the suspects hadn't been released as of Friday afternoon.
Community activists are already putting pressure on the City of Cleveland for change in a newly-formed Community Police Commission. They sent a letter on Friday to Mayor Frank Jackson and US Attorney Steve Dettlebach, demanding more authority and responsibility on the part of the panel...noting they've seen nothing in writing that defines the power and scope of the commission, that it doesn't have enough members and is lacking subpoena powers.
A former deputy Treasurer for the State of Ohio who tried to escape serving prison time by fleeing to Pakistan was back in Columbus Federal Court on Friday after he was finally extradited from overseas. 40-year-old North Canton Hoover graduate Amer Ahmad stood before the judge in shackles as he issued a public apology before being shipped-off to begin serving his time. Ahmad pleaded guilty in 2013 to charges of bribery and conspiracy involving a kickback scheme in the treasurer’s office, then fled the country before his sentencing hearing. While he was being held in Pakistan, authorities in Ohio sentenced him to 15 years in Federal prison, ordering him to forfeit 3.2-Million dollars he gained through his illegal activities.
The jury deliberating the fate of an accused killer in Summit County Court was sent-home early on Thursday and returned to resume their work Friday morning, as lawyers from both sides conducted a review of the evidence presented at trial. Specifically, attorneys needed to decide what statements made during police interrogations would be redacted in order to assure a fair process for 23-year-old Michael Hendon. He and his brother, Eric, are accused of forcing their way into the Barberton home of John Kohler in an armed robbery for drugs and cash, then shooting the man to death along with his teenage daughter and son on New Year’s Eve 2013. The father’s long-time girlfriend survived the shooting and testified at trial that Eric Hendon was the gunman in the crime. He faces a possible death sentence if convicted and his trial begins next month.
A task force put together by Governor Kasich to formulate state-wide standards for police departments was scheduled to meet again on Friday in Columbus. The agenda included a review of a recently-announced policy permitting deadly force by officers only in cases when they’re defending themselves or others from serious injury or death. The Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board is also working-up a draft policy for standardizing the recruiting and hiring policies of all departments throughout the state. Once finalized, departments will have to adopt the recommended standards as minimum policies in agencies at all levels. Those new standards will also include language regarding disciplinary action to be taken when violations occur.
A former program manager with the Parma Public Housing Agency has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for stealing over 200-Thousand dollars in government funds. 34-year-old Amy Belz of Brunswick appeared in US District Court in Cleveland this week after pleading guilty in May to charges of theft of government funds. An investigation revealed that Belz wrote 138 checks from the agency to herself between 2008 and 2014, then tried to hide the rip-offs by typing-in vendor names on carbon copies in the agency’s check register, while creating fake invoices for goods and services provided by legitimate vendors. The scam garnered the convicted woman 232-Thousand dollars before she was caught.