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Columbus Crew sign Lucas Zelarayan to 3-year extension

News Channel 4 - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 12:10

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Crew's best player is staying in Columbus for awhile.

The Crew announced Lucas Zelarayan signed a contract extension with the club through 2024 with a club option in 2025.

The 29-year-old midfielder was already under contract for next season.

Columbus Crew announces end of season roster decisions

The Crew brought the Argentinian to Columbus in December 2019 from Lixa MX by spending a record-breaking $7 million transfer fee to Tigres UANL.

Columbus Crew introduce Lucas Zelarayan

He helped the club win the 2020 MLS Cup and was named the game's MVP by scoring two goals and providing an assist in the win. Zelarayan was also named the MLS Newcomer of the Year in 2020.

In 53 appearances across all competitions, he's scored 21 goals and contributed 19 assists.

"Over the past two seasons, Lucas has proven himself to be one of the top game-changers in MLS and we are excited to sign him to a new contract. We signed Lucas in December of 2019 because we know the importance of having difference-makers in MLS in order to contend for championships. He chose Columbus because he wanted to win trophies, which is exactly what he has done - helping us win MLS Cup last year and Campeones Cup this year. Lucas has proven that he can perform under pressure, and he shines time and time again when the spotlight is brightest. We look forward to seeing what else Lucas and the team can achieve together in 2022 and beyond.

Tim Bezbatchenko, Columbus Crew President & General Manager
Categories: Ohio News

Coronavirus in Ohio Thursday update: Over 9,000 new cases

News Channel 4 - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 11:00

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- The Ohio Department of Health released the latest number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

As of Thursday, Dec. 2, ODH reports a total of 1,708,292 (+9,131) cases, leading to 87,244 (+366) hospitalizations and 10,848 (+41) admissions into the ICU. The state reported Thursday 58.02% of the state’s population — 6,782,133 Ohioans — have started the COVID-19 vaccination process, an increase of 10,935 from the previous day. 

COVID-19 in Ohio schools: Cases drop around Thanksgiving

ODH reported 104 deaths Tuesday, bringing the total to 26,587. The state is updating the number only after death certificates have been processed, usually twice a week.

The 21-day case average now sits at more than 5,500.

ODH director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff and other Ohio health leaders gave an update on the current uptick of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. While Delta variant is still the primary COVID-19 variant in Ohio, Dr. Vanderhoff did discuss the new Omicron variant.

"If the Omicron variant shows up in Ohio, we'll likely see it reasonably quickly in our state's genetic sequencing data." said Dr. Vanderhoff. "Much remains unknown at this point including whether it's more transmissible or capable of causing more serious illness."

The first U.S. case of the Omicron variant was reported Wednesday in California.

Categories: Ohio News

Crime Stoppers looking for man they say stole nine cell phones on Morse Rd.

News Channel 4 - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 09:42

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Central Ohio Crime Stoppers is looking for a male suspect they say stole nine cell phones from a kiosk in a Saraga International Grocery store on Morse Rd. in November.

Crime Stoppers say the male suspect climbed over the glass of a Phone Fixer cell phone store Kiosk that was closed at the time. The suspect then removed nine cell phones, put them in his pockets, and left the store after climbing back over the glass counter, according to Crime Stoppers.

Murder charges against Jason Meade filed in death of Casey Goodson Jr.

The stolen cell phones are worth an estimated $5,300.

In the security video, the male suspect arrived with a female suspect in a black four-door car with red paint on the passenger rear and trunk lid. Crime Stoppers say the female suspect left the store shortly before the male suspect stole the cell phones.

Anyone with information on this incident can contact the Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-8477.

Categories: Ohio News

Casey Goodson Jr.'s family sues Jason Meade, Franklin County

News Channel 4 - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 08:30

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The family of Casey Goodson Jr. filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Franklin County and former deputy Jason Meade on Thursday, hours after criminal charges were filed in Goodson's death.

The lawsuit was filed on the behalf of Goodson's estate in U.S. District Court. It did not specify a dollar amount, asking for that to be determined at trial, but alleges excessive force, wrongful death and a Monell claim of misconduct by law enforcement.

Read the lawsuit filed by Goodson's family against Franklin County and Jason Meade

Earlier Thursday, murder and reckless homicide charges were filed against Jason Meade, who took disability retirement from the sheriff's office earlier this year.

On Dec. 4, 2020, Meade was coming off an assignment with the U.S. Marshal's fugitive task force when he spotted Goodson and followed him back to a family residence on Estates Place on Columbus' north side.

WATCH: Jason Meade taken into custody after charges filed in death of Casey Goodson Jr.

Meade's attorney has said that Goodson waved a firearm and refused commands to drop it. Family said Goodson was shot while trying to unlock a door to the residence. An autopsy showed Goodson was shot in the back.

Categories: Ohio News

Jason Meade taken into custody, issues response through attorney after charges filed in death of Casey Goodson Jr.

News Channel 4 - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 07:24

COLUMBUS (WCMH) -- Former Franklin County Sheriff's deputy Jason Meade turned himself into law enforcement on Thursday morning after being indicted on charges in the death of Casey Goodson Jr.

Meade is facing two charges of murder and one of reckless homicide in the death of Goodson. His attorney, Mark Collins, said Meade will plead not guilty at his arraignment hearing, scheduled for Friday.

A full response from Collins included several details of Meade's account of what happened on Dec. 4, 2020, when Meade spotted Goodson as he was coming off an assignment with the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force.

"First and foremost, this indictment did not take us by surprise," the statement read. "What we all need to remember is just like Casey Goodson's family has demanded justice, so does Jason Meade and his family. We intend to litigate this case in a manner to ensure that all stones are turned over and Jason gets the process he's due.

"On December 4, 2020, Jason Meade was working his assignment with the United States Marshal's Service Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (SOFAST). This is an assignment that Jason had proudly worked for more than three years. As he and his team were on their way back to SOFAST headquarters after searching for a fugitive wanted on a stale felony warrant, he observed a driver, later identified as Casey Goodson, with a black handgun with an extended magazine in his right hand hanging above his car's steering wheel in a sideways manner. Mr. Goodson repeatedly pumped the gun toward the windshield and appeared to be yelling. As another car approached Mr. Goodson's vehicle while it was stopped, he aimed the gun at the other driver, tracking that driver with his weapon. Using the US Marshal radio frequency, Jason radioed his fellow SOFAST colleagues, informing them what he saw. When asked, Jason gave his location to his fellow SOFAST members and also a play-by-play of what he was observing. As Mr. Goodson's car drove by Jason Meade's vehicle, Goodson was still waving the firearm erratically and tracked Meade with the weapon.

"Mr. Meade acted within his lawful duties as an officer of the law when he pursued Mr. Goodson to investigate the felony weapons offense he witnessed. Once parked, Jason donned his tactical vest, clearly identifying him as a member of the US Marshal fugitive ask force. In response to Jason's radio transmissions, other SOFAST members arrived on the scene to provide support. Jason Meade identified Mr. Goodson to the other officers and at that time, Mr. Goodson had a pistol in his right hand and a plastic bag in his left.

"Mr. Goodson then approached a house and went around the back of it, at which time Jason lost visual of him so he took the necessary steps to find Mr. Goodson. Once he was able to regain a visual, Jason saw Mr. Goodson approaching a side door inside an open fence gate. Jason screamed several times identifying himself as a law enforcement officer and pleading with Mr. Goodson to show his hands. At least one civilian in the area heard Jason's commands. However, Mr. Goodson ignored Jason's commands. These commands were shouted several more times while Mr. Goodson was attempting to enter the house with the gun still in his right hand. Mr. Goodson refused to comply. However, as he was about to cross the threshold, Jason saw Mr. Goodson sigh and his shoulders droop in what he thought was a surrendering motion. Instead, Mr. Goodson turned and looked in Jason's direction while lifting his right arm back toward Jason, pointing the barrel of the gun in Jason's direction. Jason commanded Mr. Goodson to once again 'drop the gun,' and when that command was ignored, and while the gun was pointing at Mr. Meade, he, in fear for his life as well as those inside the house, fired his weapon at Mr. Goodson.

"A gun was recovered from Mr. Goodson.

"After this incident, Jason Meade continued to cooperate with law enforcement throughout this investigation and submitted a statement to law enforcement. Additionally, he remained on scene to complete a walk-through of the scene with the investigating agencies, and answered their questions concerning his distance from Mr. Goodson when he fired his weapon. Jason will enter a not guilty plea at arraignment and argue that a reasonable bond is appropriate in this case. Jason turned himself in this morning. Consequently, no meaningful argument can be made that he's a risk of flight. Additionally, Jason has been in the community for the past year, without incident. Jason is also no longer a member of the law enforcement community, Given his ties to this community, his decorated military record, and his lack of a criminal record, Jason's release does not pose a danger to this community. As we proceed through the critical stages of this case, the evidence will show Jason Meade acted in accordance with the law of the Supreme Court of the United States with respect to Graham v. Connor and its progeny, his training, and directives."

NBC4 will provide reactions from others in the community below as it receives them.

After the grand jury indictment today, I’ve reminded my staff that while everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the standards for being a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy must be even higher than that of our criminal justice system. As law enforcement officers we must meet this higher standard because of the immense trust we ask the community to place in us. It’s vital to maintain that trust, which is why I’ve tasked members of my staff to review the facts from the independent investigation when we’re able to fully access them and determine how this agency can best learn from this tragedy. This office has a professional obligation to do everything in its power to ensure the community and our deputies are kept safe. As I’ve said from the very beginning, I pray for everyone involved in this tragedy.”

Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin

"This morning we learned Retired Franklin County Deputy Jason Meade was charged with murder and reckless homicide. This stems from a shooting incident last December while he was assigned to the United States Marshals Office Fugitive Task Force. As we have stated before, we believe every citizen deserves due process and a law enforcement officer is no different. We respect the Franklin County Grand Jury process and thank the citizens of our great community who compromise it. However, it is not lost on us that this announcement comes only days before the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting and planned protest this Saturday at City Hall. Justice is not an outcome. Justice is a process. We continue to stand by Retired Deputy Meade and await the outcome of the Jury Trial. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to all the families impacted by this incident.  

Brian A. Steel, Vice President FOP Capital City Lodge #9

“While today’s indictment is a positive step forward in securing justice for Casey Goodson Jr., an indictment is not the end of the process, but merely the beginning,” said Rep. Humphrey. “We hope for a full, fair and transparent process that brings forth a conviction and healing for Mr. Goodson’s family and our community.”

State Rep. Latyna M. Humphrey (D-Columbus)

“Law enforcement has a duty and responsibility to protect life and serve every resident in our community, and when they fail to do that, they absolutely must be held to account. I am glad to hear that a Franklin County grand jury believes that Jason Meade should be held accountable for the death of Casey Goodson Jr. I look forward to a full, fair and transparent process as this case moves forward.”

Franklin County Commissioner Erica Crawley

“Mr. Goodson should be alive today and my thoughts are with his family as they endure this unthinkable process. No verdict will reveal to us what we already know: we must do better and take action to end systemic racism in our criminal justice system and demand justice for all Black lives unjustly lost. We cannot achieve equal justice in this country unless our system of public safety builds trust in our Black communities by listening to their voices and strengthening relationships. It’s long past time that Congress enacted criminal justice reform that encourages de-escalation of conflicts and builds bridges between police departments and the communities they swear an oath to protect and serve.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)

“Casey Goodson Jr.’s senseless murder last year put me at a loss for words. I was sickened to see
another Black man, someone from our own community, gunned down by someone who was
sworn to protect and serve. As I continue to closely monitor this case as it moves through the
courts, I pray that Mr. Goodson’s family and our community will receive justice.”

U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03)
Categories: Ohio News

Ohio Department of Health to host COVID-19 press conference Thursday

News Channel 4 - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 07:10

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- The Ohio Department of Health is set to host a press conference on COVID-19 at 2 p.m. on Thursday.

ODH reported Wednesday an increase of nearly 9,000 new COVID-19 cases. Ohio has yet to report the first case of the Omicron variant as the United States had its first confirmed case of the new COVID-19 variant on Wednesday in California.

The press conference will be led and hosted by ODH director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff and will be joined by several Ohio health leaders to discuss COVID-19.

Categories: Ohio News

Murder charges against Jason Meade filed in death of Casey Goodson Jr.

News Channel 4 - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 06:27

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Charges have been filed in the shooting death of Casey Goodson Jr. by a Franklin County Sheriff's deputy nearly a year ago.

Jason Meade was indicted Thursday on two charges of murder and one count of reckless homicide. The charges were filed in Franklin County Court, and he is scheduled to be arraigned Friday at 1 p.m. His lawyer has said he will plead not guilty and issued a statement detailing the account of Meade, who was granted disability retirement and left the sheriff's office in July.

WATCH: Jason Meade taken into custody after charges filed in death of Casey Goodson Jr. Jason Meade in 2018

Because the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office represents the sheriff’s office in all legal proceedings, special prosecutors Gary S. Shroyer and H. Tim Merkle have been added to the case.  

“They made a presentation to the Franklin County Grand Jury that resulted in today’s indictment,” Shroyer and Merkle said in a news release.  

Later in the morning, Goodson's family said they have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Meade and Franklin County.

The death of Goodson, 23, was the first in a series of fatal shootings by law enforcement officers against Black people in the Columbus area -- also including Andre' Hill and Ma'Khia Bryant -- that sparked protests around the city.

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The charges shed light on what happened on Dec. 4, 2020, when Meade, a white deputy, encountered Goodson, and come after months of statements from law enforcement, family members and attorneys that sometimes conflicted with one another.

The day of the shooting, U.S. Marshal Pete Tobin told NBC4 Meade was part of a fugitive task force in a north Columbus neighborhood. Tobin initially said Goodson waved a gun at Meade while driving past members of the task force. Meade followed Goodson back to a family residence in the 3900 block of Estates Place.

Meade's attorney said that Goodson pointed a firearm at Meade and did not follow instructions to drop the weapon before the shooting, and also that at least one witness confirmed that account. Meade was not wearing a body camera at the time.

READ: Grand Jury indictment of Jason Meade Download

"My prediction is that it was a justified shooting," Tobin told NBC4 just after the shooting. "However, this deputy will be investigated by the Columbus police homicide, Franklin County Internal Affairs, the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office, and the grand jury. So, he is going to run the gauntlet before he is completely cleared."

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On Dec. 11, Tobin issued a statement calling his comments premature. He also said that at the time of the shooting Meade was acting as a deputy, not a member of the task force -- which drew a rebuke from Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin.

Watch: Mother of Casey Goodson Jr. demands justice in days after shooting

"[Tobin] saying that Deputy Jason Meade was acting as a Franklin County deputy and not as a U.S. Marshal in the recent shooting incident, I was more than surprised," Baldwin said. "If that was the correct decision eight days ago, I should have been informed, and at that point, I would have immediately contacted [the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation] to conduct the investigation."

Goodson's mother, Tamala Payne, and a family attorney said that Goodson was returning from the dentist with Subway sandwiches and was unlocking the door as he was shot, with his death witnessed by his 72-year-old grandmother and two toddlers who were near the door.

Meade's attorney said a gun was recovered from Goodson. His mother said that Goodson, who had no criminal background, had a license to legally carry a concealed weapon and that he took the responsibility so seriously that he had wanted to become a CCW instructor.

The final autopsy report showed that Goodson was shot six times, five times in the back and once in the buttocks.

Who would oversee the investigation was initially muddled. The shooting occurred in Columbus city limits, with Columbus police responding. Three days later, Columbus police asked the BCI -- which typically assists with shootings involving law enforcement -- to take the lead, but it declined the request, saying it was contacted too late.

“Not knowing all the reasons as to why so much time has passed before the case was referred to BCI, we cannot accept this case," said Steve Irwin, a representative for state Attorney General Dave Yost. "[Columbus police] know that BCI is their first call when an incident occurs. BCI is the first call because we cannot be the subject matter experts unless we’re on scene from the beginning to document the evidence of what happened from the start.

"Three days later, after the crime scene has been dismantled and the witnesses have all dispersed, does not work.”

Instead, Columbus police continued the criminal investigation and the FBI launched a civil rights investigation, with the U.S. Attorney's office being appointed as a special prosecutor due to a transition in Franklin County prosecutors.

Columbus police reported that it had completed a preliminary grand jury packet by Jan. 14.

Meade was with the sheriff's office 17 years. He served with the Marines in Iraq and also was a pastor at Rosedale Freewill Baptist Church. According to his personnel file, he had been a member of SWAT since 2014, and he was one of several deputies who shot at an armed murder suspect in Pike County in 2018, killing the suspect. A grand jury cleared the deputies of wrongdoing. Meade was also once reprimanded for using his taser and failing to notify a supervisor.

Categories: Ohio News

Hilltop shooting leaves man in critical condition

News Channel 4 - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 03:48

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Police are investigating a shooting in the Hilltop area that left a man in critical condition.  

According to the Columbus Division of Police, around 2:21 a.m., Thursday, officers were called to the area of S. Highland Avenue and Sheridan Street on the report of a shooting.  

Columbus police: officers, suspect exchange gunfire after crash on west side

When officers arrived on scene, they found a 58-year-old man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.  

The victim was taken to an area hospital in critical condition. Police say he is expected to survive his injuries.

Police continue to investigate and ask anyone with information to call the CPD Felony Assault Unit at 614-645-4141 or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-8477.  

Categories: Ohio News

Rape at Ohio State University: 'Enthusiastic consent' eliminates doubts

News Channel 4 - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 03:00

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Enthusiastic consent eliminates doubt so there is no confusion over whether someone has said "yes" to sexual activity, an Ohio State University professor said.

In November, six people at OSU reported being raped in on-campus residence halls. According to an NBC4 analysis, three rapes were reported in August, with two occurring that month; nine in September, with five that month; and 11 in October, with nine that month.

Rape at Ohio State University: A personal story

"I think what people need to be taught is that you can't assume that there's consent unless you've asked and got an answer enthusiastically," said Zoe Brigley, an assistant professor who researches gender studies and violence against women.

"A silence might mean no, and if someone is obviously unhappy -- or not pleased with what's happened -- then that also means no. It's not unsexy to ask someone, 'Are you happy with what's happening?' It's not unsexy to check in with someone and to make sure that you have that consent. In fact, it can be something that is really meaningful."

According to the Annual Crime Report that is federally required under the Clery Act, OSU rapes were primarily reported as happening in the residence halls. Brigley said ensuring there is enthusiastic consent takes the blame off the victim.

"What's important about the enthusiastic consent is that usually, in discourse around sexual violence, there's so much scrutiny on the person who survived it -- why did you do this? Why did you do that?" she said.

"Actually, what we should be scrutinizing, is the person who committed the violence. We should be saying: 'why didn't you get enthusiastic consent?' It takes the blaming culture off of the person who's been harmed."

"Lots of people cite the cup of tea meme which goes round the internet. It's not absolutely perfect, but what it does show you is how ridiculous it is when you think about it -- would you give someone a cup of tea when they're sleeping? No, of course you wouldn't. Then, you know, you shouldn't have sex with someone if they're sleeping," said Brigley.

"It just kind of draws attention to how ludicrous it is that we even contemplate that this kind of activity is OK. If someone changed their mind and said, I don't want a cup of tea after all, you wouldn't have a problem with it. You'd completely understand. And you wouldn't force them to have a cup of tea. It's the same thing as sexual activity," Brigley said.

Six rapes reported at Ohio State in November

Rape and sexual assault are more prevalent during the early weeks of fall semester. This is called "the red zone," Molly Peirano, Director of Education and Engagement at the Office of Institutional Equity, said in an interview with NBC4.

"We want to make sure people know the information before they get here, which is how we’re trying to combat sexual violence at the beginning of the year," Peirano said.

This interactive map shows where on campus rapes have been reported this year. You can track these in real time by following the campus police logs.

Map provided by Ben Orner, graphics by Stephanie Thompson. Additional reporting by Jamie Ostroff.

Rapes and Ohio State University

NBC4 is running a series of reports on rapes at Ohio State the week of Nov. 29:

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Categories: Ohio News

Licking Heights coach has personal reason to raise funds for Alzheimer's Association

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 21:15

PATASKALA, Ohio (WCMH) -- The Alzheimer’s Association is out with troubling new numbers: deaths from dementia increased 16 percent during the pandemic and in 2021, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $355 billion.

The girls' basketball coach at Licking Heights High School, Sonya Glover, knows all about the cost of Alzheimer’s care. For five years, Glover and her husband were caregivers for her mother as she lived with Alzheimer’s.

Glover said they had to pay for home health aides out of their own pocket, and were shocked when they learned the cost to live at a memory care center in Ohio starts at about $5,400 a month.

Glover and her team now raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association, and she is an advocate for other families.

“I am going to keep fighting,” Glover said. “Even though I lost my mom last year to Alzheimer’s, the financial burden, I know for us, stopped because her life stopped and I hate to think that other people, it won’t stop until their life is gone and that is sad because families are being stretched and pulled to the core. I mean emotionally and financially and spiritually, too, and all those things mean a lot.”

Categories: Ohio News

Rape at OSU: Education key to prevent sexual violence

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 21:00

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- The number of rapes reported each year on Ohio State University's campus is on the rise.

When NBC4 Investigates spoke to survivor Maeve Walsh, she said: "I think education is one of the most important things that Ohio State should improve -- and needs to improve -- in order to prevent sexual violence."

OSU leadership agrees and showed NBC4 Investigates Jamie Ostroff how the university is expanding that education.

Six rapes reported at Ohio State in November

Cassie Shaffer, an OSU police detective, has been teaching the Rape Aggression Defense Class on campus for ten years. She estimates she's taught her techniques to thousands of women during that time, including Caitlin McLuckie, who took the class as a student and again, as an alumna.

“It just gave me the confidence to speak up," said McLuckie. "I think as women a lot of the time, we’re taught to not make somebody else feel uncomfortable, but this gave me permission to speak up for myself and my friends.”

McLuckie has, for years, encouraged others to take the RAD class, which is free to girls and women ages 14 and over. Lately, more people are signing up.

Rape at Ohio State University: Numbers climb year over year

“We’ve had such high demand for this, that we actually are wait-listing folks at this point," said Shaffer. She hopes to add more classes next semester to accommodate that demand.

It's a demand that's risen along with the number of rapes reported on OSU's campus. Rape reports increased at OSU almost 27 (26.8) percent from 2018 to 2019. And 13.5 (13.56) percent from 2019 to 2020. according to the annual security report, which every U.S. college and university is required to release each year.

Homicide victim’s family files lawsuit against city, Columbus Division of Police

Molly Peirano, director of Education and Engagement at OSU's Office of Institutional Equity, believes the growing numbers come from more reports, not more rapes.

"We want to increase that reporting so that we can get people the support they deserve, and so we also want to have accurate information so we know what trends are there, and also apply those trends to our education so that we can have better prevention," said Peirano.

The Office of Institutional Equity was created in 2019 to do just that. Since then, the university has streamlined resources for rape survivors on the OSU app and taken stock of the educational tools that are available for every member of the campus community.

12 Buckeyes earn All-Big Ten honors on offense

“So we do know that we need to up our education,” said Peirano. “How can we equip our students, faculty, and staff to be good upstanders; so if you see something you know is wrong, how can you actually help your fellow Buckeye? And then of course, if it does happen to someone where they experience sexual violence, how can we get them connected with resources?"

Right now, all OSU students are required to attend a consent seminar through the Student Wellness Center, plus complete a yearly online course about sexual violence. All faculty and staff must also take an online course each year about reporting sexual misconduct.

NBC 4's Jamie Ostroff asked Peirano: "How do you send that message, that rape is not acceptable at Ohio State University?"

"Yeah, I mean, I think it’s just that," said Peirano. "What you said, letting people know that we have expectations. We frame it as every person who comes here deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Peirano said her office is constantly coming up with new ways to educate the community about sexual misconduct. Just last month, OSU hosted #metoo week -- several days of events dedicated to education and advocacy.

She also meets with leadership at fraternities and sororities to talk about holding their peers accountable.

Tomorrow on NBC4 at 11 p.m., Ostroff will dig deeper into the process of accountability, and why survivors of sexual violence say that it can prolong the pain.

Rapes and Ohio State University

NBC4 is running a series of reports on rapes at Ohio State the week of Nov. 29:

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus police: officers, suspect exchange gunfire after crash on west side

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 20:28

COLUMBUS (WCMH) -- One person was injured after an exchange of gunfire between a person police are calling a suspect, a Columbus police officer, and a Franklin County Sheriff's deputy following a crash on the city's west side Wednesday night.

According to Columbus police, officers responded to the scene of the accident on West Broad Street just west of the I-270 South exit at approximately 8:59 p.m.

Person severely injured in east Columbus hit-skip

According to Columbus Police Sgt. James Fuqua, one of the vehicle's occupants was standing on the side of the road while officers investigated the scene. The person then started to run away, with officers giving chase.

"Whatever was stated between officers and deputy and suspect, the suspect took off on foot," Fuqua said. "A brief foot pursuit ensued where the suspect discharged a gun at the officer and the deputy."

Witnesses told police that after the suspect "fired more than one shot," a Columbus police officer and a Franklin County Sheriff's deputy returned fire. A gun was found on the suspect, now identified as Brandon R. Johnson, 30, according to police.

Johnson was taken to Grant Medical Center in stable condition for a gunshot wound to the lower body.

"Thankfully, they're definitely both OK," Fuqua said of the officer and the deputy. "This is just a reminder that there's no such thing as a routine traffic stop, there's no such thing as a routine anything in patrol because these officers were simply just trying to help citizens that were stranded motorists in their eyes and it's the end of their shift and they're just trying to do the right thing and unfortunately, we will have people in society who have absolutely no respect, not only for law enforcement but they have no respect for human life, not even their own. That they're willing to go out and do reckless and ignorant things like firing a firearm at an officer, it's absolutely unnecessary. The violence has to stop."

Man arrested in fatal September shooting

Police are not sure if any of the other occupants in the vehicles involved in the accident were injured.

The Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation has been called in to investigate the incident.

Fuqua said a bookbag was retrieved between the scene of the crash and where the suspect was taken into custody. It is unknown at this time to who the bag belongs to.

According to police, additional charges will be filed against Johnson by the FCSO.

Categories: Ohio News

How OSU Wexner helps identify COVID-19 variants

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 20:03

COLUMBUS (WCMH) -- Doctors and health leaders are closely watching all of the developments with the COVID-19 omicron variant.

Ohio is constantly looking at what variants are found in the state, something government and private laboratories and some hospitals and universities have been doing for several months.

One of those labs is at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical center.

Scientist who helped identify omicron: ‘It’s more of a Frankenstein than others’

Inside a biosafety cabinet at the Wexner Medical Center, samples of postiive COVID-19 tests are being ready for sequencing; in other words, the prep work is being done so scientists can figure out which variant those positive cases are.

“In order to get the best sequencing results, we want to load the same amount of sample from each individual,” said Dr. Sara Koenig, the director of COVID-19 Advanced Technologies at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Koening showed the lab where the sequencing is performed. Once positive samples arrive at the lab, they’re taken through several steps, several rooms, and several machines before the variant is finally determined. The last machine gives researchers the information in a format they can analyze.

Biden: Omicron variant cause for concern, not panic

“Everything else is sequence prep, this is sequencing,” she said.

The sequencing can only be done with PCR tests. It’s a process Koenig said used to take three days; now, she said her team can do it in one.

“When new variants come out like omicron or when delta or alpha were coming out, it's very important to us to be able to identify those samples as soon as possible,” she said.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, the omicron variant has not been found in Ohio. Koenig said samples she ran Tuesday all came back as the delta variant, which nearly 100 percent of the samples analyzed in her lab have done since July.

Omicron variant showing ‘unusual but mild’ symptoms, South African doctor says

“Since the beginning of 2021 really, since we became concerned with the increasing number of variants, we have been sequencing every positive test that comes into Ohio State,” Koenig said.

The United States said Wednesday a person in California has been identified as having the omicron variant.

Identifying the variant takes longer than finding out if someone has contracted COVID-19.

All of the information found in the OSU lab or any other sequencing lab is shared with the state. The samples worked on Wednesday should be ready Thursday.

Categories: Ohio News

Person severely injured in east Columbus hit-skip

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 19:09

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- One person was injured in a hit/skip crash in east Columbus Wednesday evening.

Columbus police said the crash happened at approximately 8:48 p.m. in the area of East Main Street and South Hampton Road.

The victim was taken to Grant Medical Center in critical condition.

Police have not released a description of the suspect vehicle.

Categories: Ohio News

Best days for sales in December

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 16:13

(WCMH)--Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the rearview mirror. But what if you haven't done all your holiday shopping?

There are plenty of additional sale dates throughout the month of December. Just be aware that this year's supply chain issues, and continued shipping delays, mean it is not a year to wait until the week before Christmas to shop, hoping to snag a deal.

The savings site says:

Cyber Week is a great time for electronics and home and kitchen gadgets, with many things that sold out during Thanksgiving back in stock again. This is prime time to hunt online for those hardest-to-find items like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

  • Green Monday, December 13th, 2021, is a great time to order from smaller online merchants and local stores.
  • Free Shipping Day 2021 is Tuesday, December 14, the last day for guaranteed Christmas delivery (at no surcharge) from hundreds of web retailers.
  • December 15 is not an official sale day but is traditionally when toy prices start to drop, according to
  • December 20 is when prices on winter clothing and jewelry that hasn't sold start to get slashed.
    Christmas Eve

If you are someone who actually enjoys waiting until the last minute, sales usually start a couple of days before Christmas Eve and are a last-ditch attempt to clean out unsold gifts, clothing, and other items.

Incredible deals can be found 48 hours before Christmas. But remember, this year's shipping delays and supply chain issues could leave you rummaging through unwanted leftovers.

Why you shouldn't wait much longer

From the "Doesn't that stink file," is the risk this year of waiting too long to order online.

2021 has seen many shipping delays and product shortages, and with so many people ordering online, you could suddenly find your item delayed.

After free shipping day in mid-December, you are pushing your luck ordering online, unless you are willing to pay a lot more for priority shipping.

You may need to do your late shopping the old-fashioned way, driving to the mall, and hand-delivering your gift. But what's wrong with that?

So shop early, so you don't waste your money.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus man sentenced to probation for role in Jan. 6 capitol insurrection

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 15:56

COLUMBUS (WCMH) -- A Columbus man who pled guilty to charges related to taking part in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building was sentenced to home confinement and probation Wednesday.

Caleb Jones will spend the next two years on probation, including two months of home confinement, after pleading guilty on Sept. 15 to Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building, a class B misdemeanor.

In addition, Jones must pay $500 in restitution and a special court assessment of $10.

Franklin County, Ohio, among top locales for rioters charged in Capitol siege

Jones faced a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a fine of not more than $5,000.

According to court documents, Jones allegedly admitted to a witness that he gained entry into the building by climbing an outside wall of the building. Court documents state that Jones called a witness from inside the Capitol building, sending text messages and videos from inside.

Click here to read the full criminal complaint filed against Jones.Download

Jones was allegedly hit with tear gas and escorted out of the building by law enforcement, according to a separate witness.

Categories: Ohio News

COVID-19 takes teen's family members during the holidays

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 15:36

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Losing a loved one is never easy, but for Allison Brady, COVID-19 took the loss to an almost inconceivable level.

One of the scariest things about COVID-19 for Allison was the unknown, especially about how sick her parents might get due to being high risk.

Allison thought her worst fears were realized when she and her parents all got sick. Then the nightmare struck not once, but twice.

"My mom was the first one to get sick," Allison said while thinking back, struggling to place the times and dates. Allison recalls it was eight days before her 17th birthday when her entire world was turned upside down.

Newest Vax-2-School winners announced

"It was just very scary. It didn't seem real," Allison said.

Her mom, Kimberly, worked as a hairstylist and had been in and out of hospitals battling diabetes as it progressed. When she moved to an assisted living facility, Kimberly was among the first wave of high-risk vaccine recipients last fall.

After being diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sept. 19, her condition quickly deteriorated.

"Her funeral was Monday morning [the 27]," said Allison, piecing together when her father got sick. "Sunday night, he was rushed in an ambulance to the hospital, and Monday morning my father passed away from COVID."

Allison watched doctors take her mother off life support on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Six days after that, her father Jim was diagnosed. He died two months before the holidays.

First US case of omicron variant detected in California, source says

"They're going to be very difficult. They're going to be very, very difficult," said a tearful Allison a few days before Thanksgiving.

Jim had recently started the vaccination process so that he could visit his wife at the nursing facility. His sister Mimi said he died 12 hours after receiving his positive COVID-19 test.

"He couldn't live without Kimberly," Mimi cried. "Six days. He barely lasted six days. He just couldn't do it without her." Mimi is convinced her brother died of a broken heart.

Allison couldn't attend her mother's funeral because she was still sick.

"I couldn't even get up and go down the stairs," Allison described. "I was running really low on breath, not wanting to eat anything, not wanting to drink anything. Not wanting to do anything, just feeling really weak."

30% of unvaccinated say omicron has made them consider inoculations: poll

She feared for her own outcome.

"Yeah, I thought that every day," said Allison as to whether she considered the risk to her own life.

Allison and Mimi sit side by side on the couch of Mimi's Washington Courthouse home. The pair, even though they are family, now share a special bond.

"I didn't have anywhere to live at the time, and then she… I'm going to start crying," Allison said with a cracking voice.

"I didn't question it. Before she even got to the hospital, I said she's coming with me," Mimi said.

GOP anger with Fauci rises

Kimberly and Jim's wedding rings grace the coffee table as Allison and Mimi shared their favorite memories and some of the hardest.

"Nov. 8 [1988] is when our mom passed away, and he texted me every year," Mimi said of her brother. "I didn't get a text this year. It was quiet."

Even among a few laughs, the rings are a painful reminder of two lives ending far too soon.

"It really has been hard," Allison described the last two months. "I guess you get through it day-by-day."

They also want others to know there is never enough time to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

"It is real. Be safe. Look what happened to me. It's not something fun to go through, so really try to be safe," Allison warns.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus group offers young Hispanic immigrants education aid, support

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 15:24

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Math, reading, writing, all necessary skills for a child to succeed academically, but for some families, a language barrier can be an additional challenge.

A program offered by the Ohio Hispanic Coalition is helping students facing that barrier thrive.

The spokesperson for the program said she’s seen an increase in immigrant families looking for resources to help their children catch up in school. The coalition wants to make sure people can bring their kids to the organization and help them get the academic and emotional support they need.

Jimena Molina is 5-years-old.

Republicans criticize Biden administration on immigration

“I am from Guatemala,” said her mother, Maria Lopez. “I came to Ohio two and a half years ago.”

When she moved to Ohio, Lopez knew some English and quickly adapted, but for her daughter and son, it has been a bit of a struggle.

“Sometimes she does not want to speak English,” Lopez said. “That's the biggest challenge, because at home, everyone speaks Spanish."

Living in two worlds, Lopez knew she needed to find them some help, leading her to the Ohio Hispanic Coalition and learning about its youth education program, which helps with science, math, English, and translation.

Homicide victim’s family files lawsuit against city, Columbus Division of Police

"We have three sites here in Columbus, Ohio, where we provide services directly to Hispanic/Latino families from 5 to 17 years old,” said program coordinator Daisy Oyola.

Oyola said the program has been around for about 19 years, but in the last two years, she has seen an increased need for help.

“We have seen that almost 60 percent of our students have been immigrants from the past year,” she said.

In 2019, they served 300 students. Now, it’s increased to 575, and they know there are more people out there unsure of where to turn.

"We also accept any other diversity of culture,” Oyola said.

Columbus woman ordered to pay $250K for COVID-19 relief fraud

The center also helps with transportation.

Lopez said they can help with anything, and her children love this place.

"Si necesitant ayuda con las tareas,” Lopez said. “Ayi les puden ayudar. A mis hijos le gustan mucho.”

The program offers open enrollment all year long. For more information on the coalition and the services it offers, click here.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus unveils economic recovery plan

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 15:06

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Columbus' leaders have created a financial plan to rebuild economic growth in central Ohio following the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think this is really a roadmap for the community," said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.

The plan comes because of the latest report from the Recovery and Resiliency Advisory Committee, a group of nearly 40 community leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors who've joined together to address inequities in healthcare, housing, and employment within Columbus.

No plans to rescind Columbus’ indoor face mask mandate

"We're looking to disrupt the system, what we've been doing in the past hasn't worked," said Christie Angel, chair of the Recovery and Resiliency Advisory Committee. Angel is also the president and CEO of the YWCA in Columbus.

She said the report highlights investments in the community that were harshly affected by the pandemic, such as housing assistance, food security, childcare, unemployment, and education.

"These are the areas, if you put some focus here, you're going to have some stronger economic recovery," Angel said.

Some of these areas are already being addressed.

Columbus woman ordered to pay $250K for COVID-19 relief fraud

The city of Columbus has used funds from the American Rescue Plan to distribute more than $50 million in rental assistance, $2.5 million in childcare scholarships, and $500,000 in signing bonuses for childcare workers.

However, Ginther said there's still a lot more that needs to be done.

"We're going to continue to make those types of investments, but we're asking the state, and the federal government, and the private sector, and philanthropic communities to join us," he said.

Categories: Ohio News

How did Ohio State upset #1 Duke? Deep dive into the Buckeyes win

News Channel 4 - Wed, 12/01/2021 - 14:34

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State led for less than six minutes against #1 Duke, but the Buckeyes somehow prevailed to upset the nation's top team.

So how did OSU pull it off?


In the final five minutes of the game, Ohio State gave up one point. One point to one of the nation's most lethal scoring offenses. That kind of defensive production comes from the top. Chris Holtmann has long been lauded as one of the country's best coaches when it comes to neutralizing opponents' offensive strengths.

Duke attempted six shots in the final five minutes, including three, three-pointers. Five of those six shots were jumpers even though the Blue Devils excel at attacking the basket, which is what they did in the first half to take a 13-point lead. But Ohio State wouldn't let their guards drive and all six shots by Duke were well-contested.

"In the last 5 minutes they made one point, so we really dug in on the defensive side of the ball and locked in to what those guys was going to and it just felt good to come out one top, especially at home," senior Cedric Russell said.

The Blue Devils also played with a smaller lineup in the final five minutes for two reasons. One was because their center, Theo John, fouled out with 6:26 left in the game. The other reason was because Ohio State went with a smaller lineup, playing Zed Key and E.J. Liddell on the court at the same time. Mike Krzyzewski decided to do the same, leaving his other center, Mark Williams, on the bench for most of the final stretch.

It wasn't just the final five minutes where Ohio State stepped up on defense. The Blue Devils shot less than 40% from the field and only 22% in the second half. Ultimately, the win belongs to the Buckeyes' stingy defense.

Get Duke in foul trouble

Duke committed 23 fouls against the Buckeyes. John's foul trouble hurt the Blue Devils' size advantage but more detrimental to Duke were the early fouls by Paolo Banchero.

The Blue Devils' top player and potential No. 1 overall pick for 2022 committed three fouls in the first half, forcing the 6'10" forward to play a little more careful, which helped OSU create some offense.

Ohio State got to the foul line 22 times. The Buckeyes only made half of those attempts and if they were better from the charity stripe, the upset would've been by double digits.

OSU stopped giving the ball away

The Buckeyes committed 12 turnovers with nine coming in the first half. Uncoincidentally, Duke scored 13 points off turnovers in the first half and led by 13 points at halftime.

But OSU cleaned up its play in the final 20 minutes, allowing the offense to get into a rhythm and score 41 points compared to just 30 in the first half.

CHAOS IN Columbus. Ohio State takes down #1 Duke and that means one thing — STORM THE COURT!

— Justin Holbrock (@NBC4Justin) December 1, 2021 Ced and Zed

Cedric Russell and Zed Key played their best game at Ohio State to date in the win. Russell averaged less than six minutes a game entering the contest but played 15 minutes and hit several pivotal threes, including a shot in the corner with two and half minutes left to pull OSU within two points. He also made three-of-four free throws in the final two minutes to help OSU secure the win.

"Ced and Zed were the difference," OSU coach Chris Holtmann said. "Cedric had a look in his eyes. He wanted to stay aggressive."

Down low, Zed Key was the best player on the court. The sophomore scored a career-high 20 points and bodied Duke's taller players all game long, scoring six points in a minute and a half span to keep OSU within two possessions as the second half drew toward the final five minutes.

There's still room for him to grow, but Key is coming into his own as the Buckeyes go-to center.

"All those people that are clamoring for us to have a center: Please! Please! [Zed's] a young kid who is growing. He is a center!" Holtmann said.

Categories: Ohio News


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