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Have a gift card for a closed business? Follow these steps

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 15:50

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- There are a lot of benefits to gift cards, but what do you do with an unused gift card for a business that's suddenly and unexpectedly closed its doors?

Before Eric Shawger left a West Chicago suburb for Johnstown, his favorite lunch spot was Corner Bakery Cafe. Fortunately for him, the franchise had two central Ohio locations.

"When we moved here and there's one just a mile away in the Polaris area, I thought, 'Hey, this could be great,'" Shawger said.

Drivers arrested, ATV, dirt bikes impounded during ’Operation Wheels Down’ in Columbus

What's even better, Shawger said, in the summer of 2021, the restaurant ran a promotion -- discounts for customers who purchased gift cards. Instead of giving them to family or friends, though, Shawger used them himself -- a purchase he thought would save him a little money in the long run, until one day in January, when he made a trip to Polaris.

"The day that I went over, expecting to grab some lunch, they were totally closed, and their drive-in signs were just gone,” he said.

Shawger searched online and found the Johnstown location also closed, meaning he was stuck with about $65 in gift cards that couldn't be used.

"And I thought, 'Uh oh, now what do I do?'” Shawger said. “So, I looked at the back of the card and I called the help desk, and unfortunately, like you hear a lot of times, they were helpless.”

Shawger added he was told they couldn't give him a refund. So, Shawger said he called the corporate office and left several voicemails, but never heard back.

"They could have fixed this,” Shawger said. “With the number of voicemails and online messages I left, they could have said, 'Here's $75 worth, a little more than you're losing and we're sorry for your inconvenience.' But I heard nothing.”

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Shawger filed a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office, then called Better Call 4.

Better Call 4 reached out to Corner Bakery Cafe several times, but got no response. The attorney general’s office said that they reached out to customer service, too, but also heard nothing.

Until late April.

Shawger tells Better Call 4, and the attorney general’s office confirmed, that Shawger received a refund check for the full amount of the remaining gift card balance, $64.21, from the company's corporate office... something Shawger originally said he was hoping for.

"I would be happy just to get the money back that I spent,” he said.

Need help? Contact ‘Better Call 4’

Better Call 4 asked the attorney general’s office about protections or actions that can be taken for consumers in the same spot as Shawger.

It suggests contacting the business first. If that doesn't work, file a complaint with the State Attorney General's Office, both steps that Shawger took. Finally, if you paid for a gift card with a credit card, dispute the charge with your credit card company. For additional information regarding gift cards, check out the Attorney General's website

Categories: Ohio News

Human remains found in Ross County belong to 28-year-old woman

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 15:49

ROSS COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) -- The human remains of a 28-year-old woman who went missing in February were found in a Ross County campsite.

After hunters discovered human remains in an abandoned, suspicious campsite in the 1200 block of Chester Hill Road, the Montgomery County Coroner's Office identified them as belonging to Lindsey Schobelock, according to a Facebook post from the Ross County Sheriff's Office.

Arrest warrant issued for suspect in fatal barbershop shooting

Schobelock was first reported missing from Chillicothe in late February, and her vehicle was located on Windy Ridge Road in Huntington Township, the sheriff's office said.

Deputies continue to investigate the case and encouraged anyone with information to contact the detective bureau at 740-773-1186.

Categories: Ohio News

Ohio State takes part in Alzheimer's treatment study

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 15:18

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – More than 6 million people n the country are living with Alzheimer’s disease and the Centers for Disease Control predicts that number will rise to 14 million by 2060 without effective treatment.

Doctors at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center just enrolled the first person in the country in a new clinical trial, testing a drug that aims to slow the progression of the disease.

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In Ohio, 220,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s and for every person diagnosed with the disease, there are two to three caregivers providing support each day.

The new clinical trial is called Viva-Mind and medical experts at Ohio State said this next-generation Alzheimer’s drug has the potential to change the course of the disease in its early stages.

“We are so grateful and dependent on people that are willing to undergo clinical trials,” said Dr. Douglas Scharre, the director of Cognitive Neurology at the Wexner Medical Center.

Scharre’s team is the first in the country to recruit a patient to take part in the Viva-Mind clinical trial.

"Very excited,” Scharre said. “It's a trial through the National Institute of Health or National Institute of Aging. It's a phase two trial, using this medication varoglutamstat.”

Grove City summer concert series line up announced

He said the study hopes the new mediation will remove the highly toxic proteins that are killing nerve cells in the brain of patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

"It also reduces inflammation, so we are very impressed with its potential,” Scharre said.

Ohio State is one of more than 25 medical centers across the country testing the new drug, and the clinical trial is expected to last a year to a year and a half.

“So it’s a fairly long trial, but you need that length of time to really determine whether the medication is useful or not,” Scharre said.

Scharre said his team is actively seeking new participants to take part in the trial.

"We're looking for very mild cases, so if they have severe Alzheimer's, no, it would not be correct for them,” he said. “So we're trying to get individuals, as always, that just have early mild cognitive impairment or just mild Alzheimer's dementia."

Drivers arrested, ATV, dirt bikes impounded during ‘Operation Wheels Down’ in Columbus

In June of 2021, Adulem was the first Alzheimer’s drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 18 years, but Scharre said that recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it would limit the coverage of the drug until further tests were done. Clinical trials are the only way to get medications to treat Alzheimer’s readily available for those suffering with the disease, Scharre said.

Categories: Ohio News

Men installing parking signs shot at in downtown Columbus

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 15:06

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Columbus police are investigating after a team installing parking signs was shot at during an argument Tuesday.

Police said the incident was reported at approximately 12:47 p.m. near the intersection of High Street and Broad Street.

At the scene, officers found one shell casing in the southbound lanes of High Street.

CPD looking for suspect who stole high-priced tech from downtown store

Surveillance video from the area showed an argument between drivers, police said. The video quality did not allow police to determine if the people in the argument fired the gun.

The victims of the shooting were found later by police. The victims said they were driving south on High Street after finishing installing parking signs.

An unknown man then approached them and accused them of cutting him off in traffic, police said, which started an argument between everyone involved.

Motorcyclist dies after being hit by car in east Columbus

The victims told police a woman passenger then got out of the suspect's vehicle and fired a single gunshot, according to police. The victims said they did not know if the woman fired the gun into the air, at them, or into the ground.

No injuries are reported.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Columbus police at 614-645-4189.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus Police emphasize dangers of lethal drugs after Ohio State students deaths

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 15:05

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus Division of Police is working to prevent drug overdoses after two Ohio State University students died last week.

CPD says they have narcotics detectives on the streets to help find out where this tainted batch came from.

Commander Robert Strausbaugh with the Columbus Police Drug Crime Bureau said they are talking to the one student who survived the overdose to see if they know any information about where they got the drugs.

He also wants to stress the importance of never taking any drugs that aren’t prescribed specifically for you by a doctor.

“If you want to gamble, go to Las Vegas, and play roulette, don’t play Russian roulette,” Strausbaugh said.

Commander Strausbaugh said nowadays it is safe to assume if you are buying drugs off the street, it contains something deadly.

“Drug dealers today are always putting something inside their drug that is not what you thought it was,” Strausbaugh said.

He said a lot of times that substance is fentanyl, which even the smallest amount of this drug can kill you.

Drivers arrested, ATV, dirt bikes impounded during ‘Operation Wheels Down’ in Columbus

CPD is testing the substance taken by the two Ohio State University students who died from a drug overdose last week to find out if it was fentanyl in the pills the students believed to be Adderall.

“Picture the tip of a pencil with some little white powder on the tip of that pencil,” Strausbaugh said. “That's enough to kill you."

Strausbaugh said if the drug wasn’t prescribed to you by a doctor – just don’t do it.

He said sometimes even the fentanyl testing strips aren’t accurate.

Strausbaugh said CPD is doing everything they can to trace where the lethal drugs came from in this case and others similar to put the dealer behind bars.

“If the drug that they say is prescribed comes from the street, a bar, a party, anything like that, don't take it,” Strausbaugh said. “If you are having trouble in school concentrating or studying, go to your own doctor and get a prescription that you know is safe.”

CPD is looking to partner with The Ohio State University to educate students on the dangers of drugs like fentanyl.

They want to make it a part of orientation, so every student is aware.

They say if you have any information about where these tainted batches are coming from to call CPD immediately.

Categories: Ohio News

For teen sex conviction, Ohio man faces 7 years in prison

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 14:43

MCCONNELSVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) - An Ohio man previously facing a human trafficking charge received a reduced charge and prison time after pleading guilty to other sex crimes, the Morgan County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.

Detectives from the Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Force testified before a Morgan County grand jury in November while investigating Brian O'Neil, 37, of Nashport. The jury indicted him with two felony counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and authorities arrested him within the same month.

Motorcyclist dies after being hit by car in east Columbus, per police

The indictment accused O'Neil of two instances where he had sex with minors, the first being a 14-year-old and another with a 15-year-old. After an additional investigation that went into February, the jury then charged him with human trafficking, according to the sheriff's office.

O'Neil plead guilty Friday to two charges of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He received a reduced charge of importuning instead of human trafficking, to which he also plead guilty. Court documents show prosecutors will recommend seven consecutive years of prison time combined between the three charges at his Aug. 2 sentencing date.

Drivers arrested, ATV, dirt bikes impounded during ‘Operation Wheels Down’ in Columbus
Categories: Ohio News

Bogey Inn reopening for Memorial Tournament

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 14:36

DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) – A spot popular during the annual Memorial Tournament that closed earlier this year will reopen for five days in June.

The Bogey Inn announced it will host five days of events during this year’s Memorial Tournament.

Food trucks, full bars, and music will be provided at tented outdoor areas and open-air locations on the property. The Bogey’s indoor facilities will not be open.

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There will be a daily cover charge.

Dates and hours for events are:

  • Wednesday, June 1, 4-11 p.m. – featuring the music of Alexis Gomez (7-10 p.m.)
  • Thursday, June 2, 11 a.m. – 12 a.m. – featuring Brian Day and JT Hiller (4-8 p.m.) and the Reaganomics (8-11 p.m.)
  • Friday, June 3, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. – featuring Dan Orr LIVE (4-8 p.m.) and Shucking Bubba Deluxe (8:45-11:45 p.m.)
  • Saturday, June 4, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. – featuring Chris Logsdon (4-8 p.m.) and LT Dan’s New Legs (8:45-11:45 p.m.)
  • Sunday, June 5, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Food trucks to be featured throughout the week include Demos Grill, Hacks Slider Shack, Holy Crepes, Iron Grill, Papa John’s, Pitabilities, Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, Roosters, Tacomania, and Taesty’s.

The restaurant closed in late February of this year after the death of the restaurant’s owner, Jeff Parenteau.

For more information, click here.

Categories: Ohio News

COVID-19 vaccine pop-up clinics still available in central Ohio

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 13:59

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- For individuals with disabilities, transportation can often be a barrier between them and the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Pop-up clinics have been used throughout the pandemic to boost vaccination rates in underserved populations, and one central Ohio agency is helping create access for individuals that otherwise might not have it. 

The clinic is hosted by the Center for Disability Empowerment and aims to increase vaccine accessibility for disabled individuals of any age. 

Ohio reports 11,013 new COVID-19 cases, fifth straight weekly increase

Organizers said people with disabilities have often been forgotten about when discussing COVID-19 because many were given false information that created roadblocks and barriers. 

In addition to first-time shots and boosters, vaccine recipients received kits with protective equipment like masks and hand sanitizer; they were also educated on other services the agency provides. 

Because people with disabilities are among the most at risk for severe illness, organizers said the clinic is all about protecting our most vulnerable populations. 

"People with disabilities were falling through the cracks. They didn't know where to go, they were told that the vaccine would cost them a lot of money. They were given a lot of false information and roadblocks and barriers to the clinics that existed out there," explains Shari Veleba with the Center for Disability Empowerment. "People with all types of disabilities have different learning modes and ways to understand about the vaccine, and a lot of that is overlooked when communicating about the vaccine and access to it." 

The Center for Disability Empowerment's next pop-up clinic will be held Friday, May 13 at the Delaware District Library from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Other clinic times and locations are below: 

Delaware County 

Delaware District Library 

84 East Winter St. Delaware, OH 43015 

Clinic 1: Friday, Mary 13th from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Clinic 2: Friday, June 17th from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Licking County 

Newark Public Library 

101 West Main St. Newark, OH 43055 

Clinic 2: Friday, June 3rd from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 

Union County 

Richwood Public Library 

4 E. Ottawa St. Richwood, OH 43344 

Clinic 1: Thursday, May 19th from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

Clinic 2: Thursday, June 23rd from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

Franklin County 

-Northern Lights Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library 

4093 Cleveland Ave. Columbus, OH 43224 

Clinic 1: Friday, May 20 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

Clinic 2: Saturday, June 25th from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

-Driving Park Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library 

1422 E. Livingston Ave. Columbus, OH 43205 

 Clinic 2: Friday, June 10th from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

Categories: Ohio News

CPD looking for suspect who stole high-priced tech from downtown store

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 13:51

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Columbus Police are looking for a suspect who they say stole multiple high-priced technology products from a business in downtown.

Police say that on April 23 at 5pm, a victim stated his business on the 400 block of East Main Street was broken into.

Motorcyclist dies after being hit by car in east Columbus, per police

The release states the suspect stole a Macbook, HP Laptop, and expensive watches as a felony investigation continues.

Anyone with information can contact Columbus Police at 614-645-2159.

Categories: Ohio News

Grove City summer concert series line up announced

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 13:44

GROVE CITY, Ohio (WCMH) -- Grove City has announced the lineup for this year's summer concert series.

Starting on May 27, the weekly concert series will begin at 7 p.m. Fridays at Town Center Park, 3359 Park Street across from the Safety Complex.

This year's lineup ranges features patriotic marches, classic rock, blues, Mowtown, jazz, Celtic, Latin, and much more.

Concert lineup for 2022 Ohio State Fair

Attendees are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket as the free shows will not offer seating.

The lineup for the series is:

  • May 27, Grove City Community Winds (patriotic marches and jazz)
  • June 3, Marquis 66 (classic rock & roll)
  • June 10, Whiskey Would (classic rock & roll)
  • July 1, The Usual Suspects (blues, Southern rock, Motown and jazz)
  • July 2, SPECIAL CONCERT: 3-4:40 p.m., Central Ohio Brass Band (patriotic marches and jazz)
  • July 8, 50 Steps Up (Rock)
  • July 15, The Russell Blues Band (blues, jazz, Latin, pop)
  • Aug. 5, The Conspiracy Band (R&B, rock & roll and jazz)
  • Aug. 19, Ladies of Longford (contemporary Celtic, acoustic, pop)
  • Aug. 26, NACHO Street Band (variety)
  • Sept. 2, Lee Gantt Band (country, rock & roll)
  • Sept. 23, Rezes-Hall Band (classic rock)
  • Sept. 30, Lords of Literature (classic rock)

For more information, check the city's website or call the Grove City Parks and Recreation office at 613-277-3050.

Any weather-related cancelations will be posted to the city's Facebook and Twitter pages, the city's park and recreation Facebook and Twitter pages @GroveCityParks, or call 614-277-3060 on the day of the show.

The Grove City Parks and Recreation Department are sponsors of the concert series.

Categories: Ohio News

11 rapes reported in April to Ohio State campus police

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 10:46

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- In April, Ohio State University campus police received 11 reports of rape.

The reports are tracked and published in a daily log in accordance with the Clery Act.

Eight of the reports were said to have occurred in 2022. Three occurred in other years: two in 2021, and one in 2014.

According to police logs the rapes took place -- or were reported -- at Lincoln Tower, Baker Hall West, Jones Tower, Bradley Hall, Morrill Tower, Morrison Tower, the Optometry Clinic and Harding Hospital. Three took place at unknown locations.

Rapes can be reported to directly to police or to Campus Security Authorities, who are "officials with significant responsibility for student and campus activities," according to the Clery Center website.

Incidents reported to Campus Security Authorities are not reports made for the purpose of a criminal investigation or law-enforcement action. CSAs have the obligation to notify the university.

Police logs included the following reports of rape for April. The date is when the rape is said to have occurred; all are in 2022 unless noted:

  1. April 4, Lincoln Tower. CSA report.
  2. Jan. 10, 2022 to April 4, 2022, Unknown location. CSA report.
  3. April 12, Optometry Clinic. Police report.
  4. April 15, Victim had a mental or physical disability. Harding Hospital. Police report.
  5. April 3, Baker Hall - West, CSA report.
  6. Feb. 11, dating violence and rape. Jones Tower. CSA report.
  7. Oct. 30, 2021. Bradley Hall. CSA report.
  8. April 24, rape with threat of force. Morrill Tower. Police report.
  9. April 24, Morrison Tower. Police report.
  10. August 2014 to December 2014: Unknown location. CSA report.
  11. Nov. 1 2021, Unknown location. CSA report.

"In many cases, a survivor does not wish to report the incident to police," an Ohio State spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "When a survivor does not wish to report the incident to police, it is unlikely that there will be a police investigation.

"Sometimes, it is unclear if these incidents occurred on campus if the location is unknown. CSAs are trained to provide resources to survivors and instruct them how to report to police. Reports made for law enforcement purposes are made separately to a law enforcement agency with jurisdiction."

Rapes and Ohio State University

NBC4 ran a series of reports on rapes at Ohio State in November 2021:

Categories: Ohio News

NCAA clarifies compensation rules but is crackdown likely?

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 10:27

Eleven months after the NCAA lifted most of its restrictions against athletes cashing in on their fame, college sports leaders are trying to send a warning to schools and boosters it believes have crossed a line: There are still rules here and they will be enforced.

But following last year's Supreme Court ruling against the NCAA in an antitrust case, is a crackdown on so-called collectives brokering name, image and likeness deals still likely — or even possible?

“I didn't think (the NCAA) would not try at some point,” said Maddie Salamone, a sports attorney and former Duke lacrosse player. “That's why many attorneys have been kind of giving cautious advice in terms of what is and is not allowed. Especially when it comes to collectives and different NIL deals.”

The NCAA's Division I Board of Directors on Monday approved guidance developed by a group of college sports administrators, clarifying the types of NIL payments and booster involvement that should be considered recruiting violations.

“Specifically, the guidance defines as a booster any third-party entity that promotes an athletics program, assists with recruiting or assists with providing benefits to recruits, enrolled student-athletes or their family members,” the NCAA release said. “The definition could include ‘collectives’ set up to funnel name, image and likeness deals to prospective student-athletes or enrolled student-athletes who might be considering transferring."

The NCAA added a reminder: Recruiting rules bar boosters from recruiting or providing benefits to prospects.

The guidance is effective immediately. NCAA enforcement staff was directed to look for possible violations that might have occurred before May 9, 2022, but "pursue only those actions that clearly are contrary to the published interim policy, including the most severe violations of recruiting rules or payment for athletics performance.”

The NCAA neither changed its rules nor created new ones.

“I don’t think they’re even necessarily clarifying the rules,” said attorney Darren Heitner, who helped craft Florida's NIL law. “My understanding is this is just certain individuals who have made up a working committee deciding that after almost 11 months we want to enforce our rules.”

The rise of booster-funded collectives prompted the board in February to ask the DI Council to review the NCAA's interim NIL policy. The concern among many in college sports has been that payments from collectives are being made to high school recruits and to college athletes in hopes of getting them to transfer to a particular school.

“Some things look very much like pay-for-play,” Salamone said. “There are rules on the books within the NCAA around boosters. The fact that the NCAA has been hesitant to enforce anything I think has emboldened a lot of people around this issue to be a little bit more obvious.”

Last year, the NCAA removed its longstanding ban against athletes earning money from sponsorship and endorsements deals. What remained in place, however, were three pillars of the NCAA's amateur athlete model:

— Athletes could not be paid solely for playing their sport;

— Compensation could not be used to lure an athlete to a particular school;

— Financial arrangements must have some type quid pro quo agreement in which the athlete was being paid for services provided, like a social media post or appearance.

The NCAA did not ban boosters from being involved in NIL activity. However, without detailed NCAA rules and with state-level NIL laws differing across the country, it left both schools and the association struggling to determine what activities were impermissible.

Some state laws also prohibit boosters from engaging with recruits, but there has been little appetite for enforcement of those laws.

Should the NCAA start targeting some collectives it could trigger a new round of lawsuits against the association.

Mit Winter, a sports attorney in Kansas City, Missouri, said NCAA enforcement of these rules is not a clear-cut antitrust violation.

"So the question is, under antitrust law, is the rule that’s being enforced reasonable?" Winter said. “And from my reading of everything, the rule that they’re going to be enforcing is the rule that says boosters and other third parties like collectives cannot pay athletes in return for a commitment to a school.”

Heitner advises several collectives and businesses that have made NIL deals with college athletes. He said he has stressed to clients from the start to wait until athletes are at the school of their choice before getting involved.

“I don’t think it’s a collective issue,” he added. “I think it’s just a matter of the NCAA saying, ‘Hey, we’ve always been of the position that boosters cannot influence decision making of athletes, particularly high school athletes who have not yet enrolled at universities.’”

Gabe Feldman, the director of sports law at Tulane, said the NCAA would be best served being forward-looking with its NIL enforcement.

“I think that probably is a safer and probably more fair approach,” Feldman said. “Hindsight is 20/20, but what might have been an even better approach is to have come up with clear rules earlier and started enforcing those so we didn’t get to a situation where it might be unfair to start enforcing the rules.”

College sports conferences and the NCAA have been frequent targets for lawsuits, and last June's Supreme Court ruling left the door open for even more.

Feldman said the NCAA could be opening itself up to more antitrust exposure by failing to enforce its existing rules. But both antitrust lawsuits and NCAA enforcement are notoriously slow moving.

“This would be able like the tortoise and the tortoise,” Feldman said. “Neither would get done quickly, but there’s a lot of risk in the interim.”

Categories: Ohio News

Drivers arrested, ATV, dirt bikes impounded during ’Operation Wheels Down’ in Columbus

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 10:27

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Police say multiple drivers of ATVs and dirt bikes were arrested and several of the motorbikes were impounded during a weekend operation.  

According to the Columbus Division of Police, because of complaints surrounding ATVs and dirt bikes, law enforcement officials executed “Operation Wheels Down” on Saturday that resulted in: 

  • 11 people were arrested or summonsed (Charges include No Operators License, OVI, Reckless Operation, Failure to Comply).
  • 2 Addition traffic citations were issued
  • 2 of the arrests included Felony Charges (1 Aggravated Possession of Drugs & 1 Carrying a Concealed Weapon)
  • 1 firearm was recovered (the firearm that was recovered was stolen)
  • 1 of the individuals arrested was a wanted felon (Receiving Stolen Property, Obstructing, & Failure to Comply).
  • One of the individuals arrested was missing person from a nearby county in Ohio
  • 9 ATVs / dirt bikes were impounded and held as evidence
Arrest warrant issued for suspect in fatal barbershop shooting

"Throughout these operations, we will continue to address complaints and also gather video evidence of individuals engaging in criminal offenses. We will be investigating these offenses and will ask the community to help us identify those individuals that have been lawlessly putting everyone at risk on the road and in our neighborhoods," police stated in a release.

Similar operations are expected to take place during the summer, according to police.  

Categories: Ohio News

Motorcyclist dies after being hit by car in east Columbus, per police

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 09:40

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- A man is dead after being hit by a car while riding his motorcycle in east Columbus Monday evening, according to Columbus Police.

Police say the motorcyclist was riding at 6:00pm going west on E. Main St. and was hit by a car making a left turn from S. Hampton Rd.

Human remains found at abandoned campsite in Ross County

The motorcyclist was transported to Grant Medical Center and was pronounced dead just before 6:50pm, per police.

The identity of the motorcyclist and the driver of the car are not known at this time, per CPD.

Police continue to investigate in what is the 29th traffic fatality in Columbus in 2022.

Categories: Ohio News

Arrest warrant issued for suspect in fatal barbershop shooting

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 08:56

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Police have identified a suspect accused of fatally shooting an employee at a barbershop in north Columbus.  

Just after noon, April 26, Lawrence Jefferson, 51, was found dead after a shooting was reported near the Executive Barber Salon in the 5800 block of N. Meadows Blvd.  

Human remains found at abandoned campsite in Ross County

According to Columbus police, a man entered the barbershop and spoke with Jefferson before the two left the business. Witnesses told police the shooting happened shortly after.  

On May 6, police filed an aggravated murder arrest warrant for Jermaine Cortez King, in connection to the shooting.  

According to court documents King has not been arrested.  

Police continue to investigate and ask anyone with information to call the CPD Homicide Unit at 614-645-4730 or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-8477. 

Categories: Ohio News

National gas prices reach new all-time record high

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 06:33

(WCMH) -- The national gas price record has reached a new all-time high on Tuesday, according to GasBuddy.

The national average price for gas is now $4.36 per gallon, one cent higher than the previous record mark which was set two months ago.

GasBuddy says prices could climb higher through Memorial Day with "summer road trip season beginning and oil prices remaining volatile."

Columbus Gas Prices Tracker

Price for diesel also set a new all-time record with average prices up to $5.53 per gallon.

In the Columbus area, GasBuddy reports the price for a gallon of gas averages $4.06.

Categories: Ohio News

Ohio bill would ban Facebook, Twitter from censoring users

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 03:30

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – One year after YouTube removed from its site a video in which an Ohio attorney touted lies about COVID-19, eight Republicans approved a bill to counter what they called Big Tech’s suppression of free speech.

In an 8-4 vote Thursday, the Civil Justice Committee approved House Bill 441 to prohibit social media platforms from censoring expression based on a user’s “viewpoint” – not including speech that’s already deemed illegal under federal law, like harassment or shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.

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The bill joins an increasingly national discourse concerned with the uptick in social media sites deplatforming or restricting users – ranging from the permanent suspension of former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account due to incitement of violence to removing individual Facebook posts promoting Holocaust denial conspiracies.

“By preventing Big Tech companies from continuing to engage in viewpoint discrimination, we hope to protect the free exchange of ideas and information in Ohio,” Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) said in his testimony before the Civil Justice Committee.

While the bill does not equip the state with the power to enforce the censorship ban, it does allow individual Ohioans to file a civil suit against social media companies with more than 50 million U.S. users that block, remove or restrict them from using their site.

Bill co-sponsors Wiggam and Rep. Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) did not respond to requests for comment.

Social media companies cracking down on speech that violates its policies

Since January 2020, Twitter has challenged nearly 12 million accounts, suspended more than 8,000 and removed nearly 84,000 posts the social media giant said constituted “potentially harmful and misleading information” about the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Twitter’s Transparency Center.

A Fremont attorney who testified against Gov. Mike DeWine’s COVID-19 shutdown orders before a House committee in 2021 was also the victim of what Wiggam called a government-induced attempt to regulate speech.

Facility working to fix damage after floor caves in during Pickerington prom

A video recording of Thomas Renz was removed from YouTube after the platform determined his speech violated their terms of service by spreading COVID-19 misinformation – including a debunked claim that no Ohioans under the age of 19 died from the virus, according to the Associated Press.

“Big Tech companies have censored individuals in response to suggestions and pressures from government officials and so have censored Americans on behalf of the government,” Wiggam said in his written testimony.

Are your First Amendment rights protected on social media?

Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio who testified against HB 441, said it’s unlikely the legislation would survive a legal battle in court.

Unlike government agencies or public entities, social media platforms are private actors and thus aren’t required to abide by free speech protections under the First Amendment, he said.

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“These are private entities; they make the decisions whether they have a policy or not,” Daniels said. “They make these decisions ultimately as to what they want to host or entertain or have on their social media sites.”

Ohio itself, Daniels said, could be found in violation of the First Amendment if HB 441 is enacted, as governments are prohibited from compelling speech – in other words, forcing an individual or company like Facebook to support or broadcast certain expressions.

Mandating a social media platform to maintain certain content on its site, Daniels said, would be the similar to the government dictating what a newspaper can print or requiring an anti-abortion group to spread messaging supporting a person’s right to an abortion.

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“The idea that the government can do this with private entities would essentially mean all bets are off – government controls speech that's out there and will force you to say whatever the government thinks is appropriate,” Daniels said.

HB 441 also doesn’t clarify what type of action is deemed “viewpoint discrimination” by social media companies, Daniels said, creating a murky, ambiguous body of law that could open the door for the proliferation of frivolous lawsuits.

“It doesn’t have to be political speech. It can be for some reason, you know, Facebook wants to remove your cupcake recipe,” he said. “Everybody agrees they shouldn’t be doing something like that – that’s unfair and not what the people need or want. But again, it’s their website. It’s their social media company.”

“Common carriers” argument could bypass social media giants’ First Amendment exemption

Cutrona, however, contended that social media platforms act as “common carriers” – like the U.S. Postal Service, phone companies and public transportation –  that are responsible for the transmission of goods via services open to the general public.

Commons carriers are required to operate with neutrality, which Daniels said explains the fact that the post office can’t refuse to deliver a National Rifle Association newsletter because it disagrees with the NRA’s speech. And Amtrak, he said, generally does not concern itself with a passenger’s political views.

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“These services are affected with a public interest, are public accommodations, are central public forums for public debate, and have enjoyed governmental support in the U.S.,” Cutrona said in his written testimony. “As such, Ohio is well within its rights to stop Big Tech from censoring users based on their viewpoint.”

But Daniels said social media giants don’t operate or advertise themselves as common carriers, as they “obviously exercise control over speech,” enforcing myriad speech-related rules within their terms of service.

Other states’ legislation pending in court

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a similar bill into law allowing residents to sue social media companies over speech violations – only to be served with a preliminary injunction blocking its enforcement by a federal judge in June 2021.

“The legislation now at issue was an effort to rein in social-media providers deemed too large and too liberal. Balancing the exchange of ideas among private speakers is not a legitimate governmental interest,” the Florida judge wrote in his injunction order.

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A Texas bill restricting a social media company’s ability to regulate users’ speech was also hit with a preliminary injunction by a federal judge in December 2021.

The judge said the enacted legislation would “radically upset” the ways in which social media platforms operate by stifling their ability to maintain “safe, useful, and enjoyable” sites for users.

“Content moderation and curation will benefit users and the public by reducing harmful content and providing a safe, useful service,” the federal Texas judge wrote in his injunction order.

Despite Daniels’ certainty that HB 441 will witness a similar fate in court, he’s convinced the bill’s sponsors are using the legislation as a bully pulpit to garner the public's attention toward the issue.

“Even the threat of introducing a law, the threat of having a bill out there and passing it into law – those types of things they hope, essentially, will cause social media companies to change what they are doing.”

Categories: Ohio News

Human remains found at abandoned campsite in Ross County

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 03:27

ROSS COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) -- Deputies are investigating after human remains were found in Ross County.

A post on the Ross County Sherrif’s Office Facebook page states that on Monday, deputies received information from hunters that an abandoned, suspicious campsite was found in the 1200 block of Chester Hill Road.  

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Deputies responded and found human remains in the area.  

The Montgomery County Coroner received the remains to determine identification.  

Deputies continue to investigate.  

Categories: Ohio News

More sunshine and above average temperatures for the rest of the workweek

News Channel 4 - Tue, 05/10/2022 - 03:05
Columbus and Central Ohio Weather QUICK WEATHER FORECAST:
  • This morning: Mainly clear, low 52
  • Today: Sunny skies, high 79
  • Tonight: Mostly clear, low 55
  • Wednesday: Sunny again, high 82
  • Thursday: Sunny, warm, high 75
  • Friday: Mostly sunny, high 84
  • Saturday: Chance for showers & p.m. t-storms, high 82
FORECAST DISCUSSION:

Good morning and happy Tuesday!

More sunshine is on the way for the rest of the week and will aid in bringing temperatures above normal for this time of year.

It's a clear and calm start to the morning with lows falling to the low to mid 50s, which is right around normal for this time of year.

Today, sunshine will be in full force. This paired with a light southerly breeze will help temperatures climb to around 80 degrees, which is almost 10 degrees above normal.

Overnight, we'll stay under a mostly clear sky as temperatures fall to the mid 50s.

Sunshine and warmer temperatures will stick around for the rest of the week. Wednesday, highs will climb to the lower 80s then reach the mid 80s Thursday and Friday.

But, enjoy the warm and dry weather while it lasts. The next chance for rain and storms returns to the forecast this weekend.

Have a great day!

-Liz

Categories: Ohio News

Pickerington considers hybrid learning for some students

News Channel 4 - Mon, 05/09/2022 - 21:02

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) – Families in a central Ohio community are facing the possibility of their junior high school students being in hybrid learning next year, but not because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

District leadership with the Pickerington Local School District said it’s because the number of students is growing exponentially, but the number of classrooms remains the same.

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The plan was presented at a Pickerington School Board meeting Monday. No decision on the plan has been made.

Parents at the meeting said they hope other options are seriously considered before a final decision is made.

“We do have overcrowded schools,” said parent Courtney Green. “However, taking these kids out of school is, it doesn't meet the expectation of Pickerington proud.”

Green’s child will be an eighth-grader next year and has two other children who could be affected by the plan if it goes into place. She said her daughter texted her during Monday’s meeting as the presentation was being given.

“That broke my heart to get a text from her saying that all of her friends are upset, that they’re texting one another,” Green said. “These kids are seventh and eighth grade and they know what's going on, they’re aware, they understand how this is going to impact them.”

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Green was one of six parents who spoke at the meeting, all of them against the proposal.

The plan was presented by Chief Administrative Officer and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Heather Hedgepeth, along with two junior high school principals. The plan was different than the one the district used during the pandemic.

“We’ve brainstormed as much as we can and we just keep going back to we can't make the buildings any bigger,” Hedgepeth said.

The principals also talked about behavioral issues at the schools affecting some students’ comfort levels.

The final decision will not be left to the school board; since it is an instructional issue, the district’s administration will make the final call.

“If we’re going to do this, we need to do it right and we need to provide the support to our families and to our students and make it work,” said Pickerington Superintendent Dr. Chris Briggs. “It’s not a cure-all; it’s not the best situation for all of our families, we get it. But we’re just trying to do the best we can with what we have in front of us and that's our facilities.”

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Hedgepeth said she would like to have a decision made in the next two weeks. Board members are encouraging the public to send feedback to district leaders. The district is also gathering feedback for teachers.

“I think it is important for this community to embrace the reality their options are not great, but that we are trying to make the best of a not-great situation,” said school board member Cathy Olshefski.

Since 2017, there have been three ballot issues for the schools in Pickerington, all of which have failed. Those issues, if passed, would have, at least in part, funded the construction of new schools or renovations to current school buildings.

The board took a step Monday toward getting another of those initiatives on the November ballot.

Categories: Ohio News

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