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Cooler and drier weather to start weekend

News Channel 4 - Fri, 08/12/2022 - 02:54
Columbus and Central Ohio Weather QUICK WEATHER FORECAST:
  • Today: Mostly sunny, high 78
  • Tonight: Mainly clear, low 55
  • Saturday: Increasing clouds, high 80
  • Sunday: Showers & rumbles, high 75
  • Monday: Showers linger, high 79
  • Tuesday: Partly sunny, high 80
FORECAST DISCUSSION:

Happy Friday!

We have got a beautiful end to the workweek on tap, with daytime highs sticking below normal by about 5 degrees. We'll top out in the upper 70s here in the city and across much of Central Ohio. Humidity is also lower, dropping into a more pleasant category for both today and tomorrow. We will see plenty of sunshine throughout the day.

As we head into Saturday, cloud cover does gradually build in throughout the afternoon, but we will remain dry, with highs topping out near 80. Saturday overnight into Sunday is when our next disturbance will bring us some showers and a few thunderstorms. That activity continues throughout Sunday, and while not a washout, we will be dodging those scattered showers throughout the day. Highs will be in the middle 70s Sunday.

That shower activity does linger into the first of the workweek, with a few afternoon showers on Monday. Highs will top out in the upper 70s.

We start to dry out as we head into the middle of the workweek, with clearing skies and dry conditions for Tuesday, and highs topping out near 80.

-McKenna

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus Schools releases opening plan to be used if strike occurs

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 20:37

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Families across the city of Columbus are dealing with uncertainty as the start of the school year gets closer.

With contract negotiations between the Columbus Board of Education and Columbus Education Association (CEA) stalled, it's unclear what exactly classes will look like to begin the year.

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“It’s nerve wracking right now because we don't have the final answer and school is near, two weeks away," said Cortney Jackon. "It’s concerning just because we don't know which way we need to go.”

Jackson has two sons who are in high school. On Thursday afternoon Columbus City Schools released its Alternative Opening Plans which would be used if the union decides to go on strike. According to the plans, students would learn remotely with substitutes, administrators or teachers who choose not to strike.

“It did demystify a lot of the energy that was being thrown around in barber shops or cookouts or family dinners or Sunday worship services, it was a lot of questions, it answered a lot of questions but there was no clarity," said Londale Towns, a father of three kids in the district.

Jackson hopes the plans never have to be used because she says her kids learn much better in person.

“That is one of the big concerns of mine, because I do want them to get that interaction," she said. "I don't want my kids grades to fall behind either and I know that was a big downfall of them being in remote.”

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Under the plans, school would still start on Aug. 24. They say kids would be required to attend the remote classes. They also say extracurricular activities, including sports, would be canceled or rescheduled. Meals would be available with "grab and go" meal service, according to the district.

“I hope they do come to a conclusion and get this straightened out before school starts and so we don't have to worry about what our kids are going to be doing," said Jackson.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus police arrest woman accused of killing her husband

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 17:50

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- A Columbus woman has been arrested on charges she killed her 64-year-old husband by punching him repeatedly.

On July 4, Harry A. Gaines, 64, and Dana K. Colbert, 39, were seen by witnesses in their home at the 2800 block of Grasmere Avenue when Colbert pushed Gaines down, causing his head to hit the ground, according to the Columbus Division of Police.

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Witnesses saw the couple involved in another altercation on July 8, police said. Colbert was seen repeatedly punching Gaines in the face. The witnesses went to check on Gaines later on and found him unresponsive.

Gaines was taken to Riverside Hospital and rushed into emergency surgery for bleeding on the brain. He died from his injuries on Aug. 1, police said.

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Colbert was arrested on murder charges on Aug. 11 after the coroner ruled the death a homicide. This is the 84th homicide in Columbus this year.

Columbus police is asking anyone with information to call the homicide unit at 614-645-4730.

Categories: Ohio News

Think you're being deceived by an energy supplier? Here's what to do

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 16:16

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- An Ohio family is sweating from the pressure of an $800 electric bill from July.

When they found out the rising cost wasn’t the result of cranking up the air conditioning, they called NBC4 Investigates to shine some light on why the price caught them by surprise.

James Mathias is one of several people who reached out in recent weeks to ask why their electric bill is suddenly so high. A disabled veteran, Mathias lives in Logan with his mother, Barbara Friesner. Mathias paid off the mortgage on her three-bedroom home, so she typically takes care of the utilities.

Friesner was astonished when her electric bill for the month of July was $798.79, a dramatic increase from the $290.44 she paid in April, which the mother and son considered typical for their home.

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“We’ve had new windows put in. New roof. I’ve done a lot of work. I spent a month trying to figure out why our utility bill was so high. Trying to figure out what to do around here to fix it,” Mathias said. “I called AEP and they went over the bill with me. And when they found out that our kilowatt hours were 30 cents a kilowatt hour, that we were being robbed by this utility carrier.”

AEP's "price to compare" rate is 7.2 cents per kilowatt hour. This number is regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, and can fluctuate quarterly based on the energy market.

As an energy distributor, AEP controls the infrastructure that brings power to your home.

"Imagine if we had different companies with competing sets if wires down the street. It doesn't make much economic sense," said Matt Shilling, PUCO's Public Affairs Director. "That's why distribution utilities are regulated. They have set service territories, but in exchange for that, their rates are regulated."

However, pricing by energy suppliers, which control the energy commodities that AEP distributes, have not been regulated in Ohio for more than 20 years.

“On the supply side, that’s a competitive business, so we don’t have direct jurisdiction of the rates that they charge,” Schilling explained.

Since 2001, Ohio has allowed energy suppliers to compete for your business through the Energy Choice Ohio program. These companies might entice customers with a gift card, use of renewable energy sources, or an offer to lock in a rate for a fixed period of time.

"Well they guaranteed it was less than what I was paying, but he didn’t tell me it’s for a year or anything," Friesner recalled. "Then they promised to send—give me a free month’s electric by sending my bill back after so long, but I never did that.”

Friesner's billing statements show that between April and July, the supplier went from charging them 13 cents per kilowatt hour to 29.9 cents.

"It's theft," Mathias said.

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Friesner paid July's bill, leaving her with $478 from her Social Security check for the month, she said.

Mathias said he and his mother will stay afloat, financially. They have savings and his disabled veteran benefits to cover their expenses.

"I think about other people," Friesner said. "We're blessed. Jim's here to help me. If he wasn't here, I don't know if I'd be able to keep my house."

As long as the supplier discloses its pricing practices up front, they can essentially charge what they'd like, Schilling said.

"Since the retail rates of energy supply were deregulated in 2001, the PUCO no longer has any jurisdiction over the rates they charge. But the main focus for the regulator here in this competitive space is full disclosure," Schilling said. "So all the terms and conditions must be disclosed ahead of time and in full to the consumers.”

Friesner said she is unable to find the contract with her energy supplier. NBC4 Investigates' Jamie Ostroff called the supplier and was connected to a salesperson at a call center. After identifying herself as a journalist, she asked the salesperson about pricing.

He explained that new customers can secure a fixed rate for their first six months, after signing up over the phone in what he called a "verbal contract." He said the customer then receives a "welcome kit" in the mail, containing full disclosures about variable pricing after the initial six months.

The salesperson said rates fluctuate along with the energy market. AEP's price to compare rate increased roughly 40%, from 5.1 cents to 7.2 cents per kilowatt hour, over the past year. The rate Friesner was charged by her supplier more than doubled.

According to Mathias, the supplier offered to lower their rate to 10 cents per kilowatt hour for a year. He chose to allow AEP to arrange a new supplier for them, so they could get a lower rate. Schilling said this is a good approach to lowering your electric bill.

"The Public Utilities Commission oversees wholesale auctions, in which wholesale suppliers bid for the right to sell electricity to those consumers who don't shop on their own," Schilling said. "The idea there is that that auction is going to attract the lowest possible prices given the state of the energy market."

Schilling also recommended customers call the PUCO at 1-800-686-PUCO if they feel they're being deceived or taken advantage of by their power supplier.

"Our customer call center is one of our best windows into the real world, what these contracts are. Because it's a deregulated space, we don't have a perfect lens into what all the contracts that customers are agreeing to with suppliers," Schilling said.

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The commission has taken action against an energy supplier in the past. Records show that in 2019, more than 50 people called the customer complaint line to voice issues with this particular supplier. The PUCO investigated and found that the company was charging "unconscionable" rates. That company is no longer allowed to do business in Ohio.

According to the PUCO’s records, the company that was charging Friesner nearly 30 cents per kilowatt hour was the subject of 226 calls to the customer call center in 2022. Schilling was unable to identify the exact nature of those calls.

To make sure you're not being taken advantage of by an energy supplier, the PUCO suggests asking these questions before signing up:

  • Are you a PUCO-certified supplier?
  • What is the price per kilowatt hour (kWh) – electric, or price per hundred cubic feet (ccf) or thousand cubic feet (mcf) – natural gas?
  • Is the price fixed or does it change?
  • If it changes, how does it change?
  • Does the price depend on how much I use or when I use electricity or natural gas?
  • Will there be a switching fee?
  • Is there a fee if I cancel the contract early?
  • Is there a customer incentive for signing up?
  • Are there any special add-on services?
  • How long will the rate remain in effect?
  • What happens when my contract expires?
  • Will I receive one or two bills a month?
  • Who provides the billing?
  • Is there a budget plan?
  • Are current budget plan customers eligible?
  • Are there any built-in price increases or decreases?

More information is available at energychoice.ohio.gov.

Categories: Ohio News

Lt. Gov. Husted on texts linked to First Energy bribery scandal

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 16:00

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Newly released text messages show that Ohio's Lieutenant Governor had conversations with First Energy officials linked to the state's nuclear bribery scandal.

That scandal involved allegations that First Energy paid millions of dollars in exchange for lawmakers to pass House Bill 6, a billion-dollar buyout for nuclear plants. The buyout would be at the cost of rate payers, where they would get charged an additional 85 cents per month over seven years.

Federal attorneys called it the largest bribery scandal in the state's history. But, in an exclusive NBC4 interview, Husted said he was acting as a middleman to relay information.

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“I did share information that I believe is important for policymakers to consider,” Husted said. “The lieutenant governor doesn’t have a vote in this, I was advocating for the policy of saving nuclear power plants.”

When Husted was asked what information he did share, this is how he responded: “Other than just sharing the facts of what all sides were saying about what it was going to take to save the nuclear power plants,” Husted said. “Beyond that I wasn’t really involved.”

In 2019 text messages, Michael Dowling, First Energy Senior Vice President, writes to CEO Chuck Jones, “Just had long convo with JHusted…JH is working on the ten years, he’s afraid it’s going to end up being eight.”

These messages refer to House Bill 6 -- legislation that would boost First Energy’s earnings at the cost of their customers. Here you can see a meme Jones made, that says “HB 6, F**** anyone who ain’t us.”

“The people who did wrong, we’ll see what happens to them,” Husted said. “But what I did was perfectly appropriate and frankly my responsibility to share information about the debate that was going on.”

More 2019 messages between First Energy executives do mention the governor, saying things like, "When this is over - which may be as early as tomorrow - gov, is likely to call."

In a statement, the Ohio Democratic Party said this “only raises more questions about what Mike DeWine and Jon Husted knew about the $80 million dollar bribery scandal.”

But a spokesperson for DeWine’s office told NBC4 the governor has not been subpoenaed, was not involved and these texts do not support any alleged involvement.

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When NBC4 asked Husted if he denies saying he is ‘fighting to the end,’ for First Energy, this is what he said: “Well first of all, I haven’t seen any of the reports on this. I will tell you this and I’ve said this all along -- I wanted to save nuclear power plants.”

In a statement, First Energy said: “FirstEnergy’s Board and leadership have taken swift action to address events that have occurred over the past few years and to ensure a culture of strong ethics, integrity and accountability at the company. That includes terminating employment of former executives that were in violation of FirstEnergy policies and code of conduct, bringing in a number of new senior officers and board members, and building a strong ethics and compliance program.”

In a statement, Ohio Republican Party spokesperson Dan Lusheck said: “Nan Whaley worked for a dark money organization and the FBI investigated her for taking thousands of dollars in bribes, but Democrats continue trying to push a conspiracy about a bill that 12 of their members voted for.”

Categories: Ohio News

Heath man demands accountability from Select Home Warranty

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 15:45

HEATH, Ohio (WCMH) -- In March of 2021, Charles Lupton, Jr. purchased a home warranty.

"We thought, 'Well, we'll take a chance,' and I reviewed some different places, and Select Home Warranty was one of the top 10," Lupton said.

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Lupton made the call and signed up for a one-year contract with Select Home Warranty to cover the appliances in his home in Heath. That peace of mind cost Lupton $400 that he paid over four months.

"Their strict policy is you don't ever have to call a repairman," he said. "We do it all for you."

Little did Lupton know that he'd need to tap into that warranty so soon. His refrigerator stopped working, so he contacted the company at the end of May 2021.

"I sent them an email, and they sent me, 'Someone will get back with you in 24 hours,'" Lupton said. "Well, nobody got back to me for two to three months."

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Lupton said he kept calling, though, and finally got through to a representative.

"Then they didn't proceed to do anything," he said. "They didn't say they had a repairman coming, they didn't say when a repairman would be here, they didn't have a project, they had nobody on the job, nobody called me."

Then, Lupton said he took a closer look at his policy and found that the company didn't even have repair or replace contacts in his area.

"They didn't tell me that," he said.

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Lupton requested to cancel his policy and asked for his money back but said the company stopped responding.

Now, it's been more than a year. First, Lupton turned to the Better Business Bureau for help. Then, he called Better Call 4.

"I didn't know who else to call because we couldn't afford attorney," Lupton said.

Over the last three months, an NBC4 reporter called and emailed Select Home Warranty. Each time, the reporter was put on hold or sent a message just like Lupton did.

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Lupton said he couldn't keep waiting for the company to respond, so he went ahead and purchased a new fridge. But he said he thinks the company should be held accountable.

"Nobody called me, nobody set up an appointment, nobody made any effort, nobody came out here to look at the refrigerator ... nothing. And you still refuse to give me my money back," he said.

Better Call 4 is still waiting to hear back from Select Home Warranty. NBC4 also reached out to the Ohio Attorney General's Office to inquire about Lupton's options.

"The consumer can file a complaint with our office and we can attempt to contact the business on his behalf to attempt to obtain a resolution," the attorney general's office said.

Better Call 4 is helping Lupton to file that paperwork and continues to reach out to Select Home Warranty.

Categories: Ohio News

What college students need to know about Monkeypox

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 15:44

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- There are 75 confirmed Monkeypox cases in the state of Ohio. With college students from all over set to return to campuses in Columbus, should universities be concerned about the spread among their students?

Unlike the Coronavirus, health professionals like Dr. Joseph Gastaldo said because of the way the virus is transmitted, there isn’t a huge concern over an outbreak on campuses. Still, this doesn’t mean students shouldn't be careful.

If you go to college you need to know about Monkeypox,” said Dr. Gastaldo. “If you are an at-risk population that we are seeing Monkeypox in, specifically men who have sex with men, think about getting the vaccine if you qualify for it. Understand that if you have any type of undiagnosed skin lesion you need to get tested.”

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Beyond getting tested, Dr. Christina Liscynesky said practicing safe sex protocols recommended by the CDC and limiting your partners is important.

“Just to be aware, you know, if you’re sexually active with multiple partners or have close contact with different types of people, not necessarily sexual contact but just very very close contact, to be aware of ways to mitigate your risk,” said Dr. Liscynesky.

While students can’t get it just from being in the same class or bar as students who may have it, students do need to be aware of what these lesions look like and test and isolate if they are concerned they may have it.

“If anybody has any suspicious skin lesions, especially if they’re in the at-risk community where we’re seeing most of the Monkeypox cases, those people need to stop what they're doing and get tested and isolate themselves until their test results come back,” said Dr. Gastaldo.

He said it’s also important to report if you’ve tested positive so contact tracing can begin.

“If somebody in the dorms is confirmed to have monkeypox it’s important to do contact tracing as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Gastaldo. “And to offer the vaccines to those individuals, perhaps people who have the same bedroom or share the same bathroom.”

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NBC4 reached out to universities in the Columbus area about their plan to prevent or address a spread of Monkeypox on campus.

Ohio State University, Ohio University and Capital University all say they are monitoring case numbers.

OSU said it will provide students with information as needed OU said it plans to provide students with information at the start of the semester and Capital university says it has not yet finalized its Monkeypox protocols.

Categories: Ohio News

More Monkeypox vaccines coming to Ohio

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 15:00

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- The Ohio Department of Health says new doses of the Monkeypox vaccine are heading to Ohio.

"Our allocations have likewise been less than some harder hit states, but rest assured that Ohio continues too actively advocate for more vaccines," said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health.

Vanderhoff says the state is pushing for new doses of the Monkeypox vaccine, known as Jynneos. This week, he said Ohio received 5,440 doses of the vaccine, adding that the vaccine is administered in two doses, meaning it's enough to vaccinate over 2,700 people.

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"Our strategy in the face of these national limitations, has been to get available supply out as quickly as possible to Ohio communities, with the highest case counts, and the highest risk per spread," said Vanderhoff.

According to the CDC, there have been 75 confirmed cases of Monkeypox in Ohio, primarily in urban areas like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. Infectious disease doctors say the spread of Monkeypox is far less prevalent than COVID.

"We are not seeing Monkeypox being transmitted in grocery stores, or by shopping, or things like that," said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, an infectious disease specialist with OhioHealth.

Gastaldo says transmission of Monkeypox requires close, intimate contact with an infected person. Either through a rash, bodily fluids, or inhaling respiratory droplets.

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He says the majority of cases are among men who have sexual relations with other men, however, he says anyone can be infected with the disease. Its why health officials are working closely with community partners, to lower the spread.

"Connecting directly with the LGBTQ+ community, on Monkeypox education, and actually providing the vaccines, and bringing vaccines to where those populations are who need them," said Dr. Gastaldo

The Ohio Department of Health says 13,000 doses of the Monkeypox vaccine will arrive in the coming weeks, and are in the process of creating a community dashboard for Monkeypox cases later this month.

Categories: Ohio News

Pickerington schools may not open for all students on first day

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 13:52

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) -- Pickerington Local School District announced some students may not be able to attend class on the first day.

Due to an unprecedented number of students enrolling, Pickerington Schools may not be able to process every student’s residency verification requirement paperwork before the first day of classes, the district announced on Facebook.

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“We apologize for the stress and inconvenience this causes our students and families, and we ask for your understanding during this time,” the Facebook post said. “We are processing these legally required documents as quickly as we can.”

Pickerington schools are scheduled to begin classes on Monday. Parents are advised by the district to watch their email for the status of their student’s enrollment and residency verification process.

Categories: Ohio News

Ohio breaks 3 million COVID-19 cases

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 11:52

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) - Ohio has surpassed 3 million all-time COVID-19 cases, a weekly new case report from the Ohio Department of Health showed Thursday.

The state was on the verge of hitting the milestone -- which indicates more than a fourth of all Ohioans have now contracted the virus at some point -- in its previous report, when ODH recorded 2,976,027 all-time cases. The state has been moving up in total cases at a pace of over 20,000 a week for five weeks in a row.

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ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff did not mention the third million-milestone in a same-day press conference about COVID-19 and monkeypox. He did, however, acknowledge the summer's higher spread. He also touted the success of vaccines that have reduced the strain on Ohio's hospital systems, saying they've done well enough in protecting Ohioans that the state almost has "complacency" about the virus.

Indeed, zooming in on weekly cases also shows a continuing downtrend in COVID-19 cases, despite the high level reported week-by-week. ODH reported 26,016 new cases for the past week. The case rate peaked just under 30,000 at its height on July 28. Fewer and fewer new cases have cropped up in the two weeks since.

Prior to July, the state's COVID-19 spread had not hit 20,000 new cases per week in nearly five months. It previously saw an eight-week streak of consistent rises in new cases end in late May. Over the past week, the state averaged around 3,717 new coronavirus cases per day.

ODH began reporting COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations weekly instead of daily in mid-March after new infections slowed to a low level after the omicron wave. The drop in cases was accompanied by fewer people being hospitalized with the virus. The 608 hospitalizations reported by ODH in the past seven days (97 per day) are fewer than 679 last week and 705 two weeks ago.

A similar downward trend followed for deaths, with 87 dying from COVID-19 over the past week. ODH said 98 had died from the virus by the previous Thursday, almost doubling the 54 deaths in the week prior.

COVID-19 metricTotalChange (past 7 days)Cases3,002,043+26,016Hospitalizations122,882+608Deaths39,220+87*Ohio Department of Health reports weekly on Thursdays.

As cases were going down over the past week, the state also saw a drop in vaccinations. Compared to 8,966 in the week before, 8,648 Ohioans started the COVID-19 vaccination process in the past seven days, per ODH data. Another 6,360 finished vaccination by getting their second dose. Around six in 10 Ohioans are partially or fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 metricTotalChange (past 7 days)Vaccinations started (one dose)7,419,934+8,966– % of all Ohioans63.48%+0.08%– % of eligible Ohioans (age 5+)67.22%+0.06%Vaccinations completed (two doses)6,872,851+23,448– % of all Ohioans58.86%+0.06%– % of eligible Ohioans (age 5+)62.52%+0.05%*Ohio Department of Health reports weekly on Thursdays.
Categories: Ohio News

I-71 shut down in Clinton County after threat at Cincinnati FBI office

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 09:57

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- A section of Interstate 71 between Columbus and Cincinnati is shut down Thursday after a man walked into an FBI office armed with an assault rifle and shot a nail gun at personnel.

About 9:15 a.m., the FBI said the man set off an alarm at its visitor screening facility in Cincinnati. NBC News reported the man fired a nail gun at law enforcement personnel and held up an assault rifle before fleeing in a vehicle.

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A chase ensued into Clinton County, which ended near Smith Road, just past the exit for State Route 73.

The man got out of his car and got into a standoff with police, which included FBI agents, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers and officers from other agencies. The Clinton County Emergency Management Agency told television station WLWT of Cincinnati that shots were exchanged and also that the man was wearing body armor.

NBC News reported that the FBI has been receiving heightened threats in the days since it raided the residence of former President Donald Trump but that no motive has been established in this case.

I-71 has been shut down in both directions between State Route 73 and U.S. 68 in the Wilmington area. And sections of State Routes 73 and 380 are closed, too.

Buildings within a one-mile radius of Smith and Center roads were ordered to lock down, and law enforcement asked everyone to stay inside.

Categories: Ohio News

1980 cold case murder solved in Upper Arlington, thanks to DNA

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 09:30

UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) - DNA technology has cracked another cold case murder in central Ohio, according to the Upper Arlington Police Division.

The case dates back to June 3, 1980, when 8-year-old Asenath Dukat's body was found in a creek bed at First Community Village. Upper Arlington Police Chief Steve Farmer said biological material from Dukat's autopsy sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation laboratory actually found a DNA match in 2008. However, investigators spent years after that interviewing people in the case, re-examining evidence and submitting more for forensic analysis, to rule out any other possible person connected to Dukat's death.

“Investigators for the Upper Arlington Police Division have tirelessly pursued justice for the Dukat Family for more than four decades," Farmer said. "I am the sixth chief to oversee these efforts and appreciate the hard work that has been put into this case through the years."

Upper Arlington police search a creek bed for evidence related to Asenath Dukat's death. (NBC4 File Photo) Car falls 50 feet in deadly Columbus quarry crash

The DNA profile from BCI tied Brent L. Strutner to the murder of the 8-year-old girl, and Upper Arlington police said they exhausted all other possible leads in the case before coming to this conclusion. However, Strutner killed himself in Columbus four years after Dukat's death, according to UAPD.

Robert "Chris" Winchester, was another person of interest in Dukat's murder and was also a friend of Strutner's. UAPD could not find enough evidence to indicate Winchester was involved in Dukat's death, but he was found guilty in another case related to a young girl's attempted abduction that also happened in the 1980s.

The breakthrough in Dukat's case came the same week as another cold case breakthrough in central Ohio. In that case, investigators arrested the living suspect, Robert Edwards, who is accused of murdering two different women in 1991 and 1996.

Watch a 2011 report by NBC4 that revisited Dukat's cold case below:

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus teachers' union files intent to strike

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 09:11

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- The Columbus teachers' union has inched one step closer to going on strike.

The Columbus Education Association, which represents 4,500 educators in Columbus City Schools, filed a notice of its intent to strike and picket with the State Employment Relations Board on Thursday as a result of its ongoing labor dispute with the district's Board of Education, according to a news release from CEA.

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The filing opens the door for the union to strike on Monday, Aug. 22 -- two days before the first day of school -- if a contract agreement with the district is not reached.

“CEA has consistently maintained that we are fighting not just for CEA members, but for our students and community," CEA spokesperson Regina Fuentes said in a statement. "That is why CEA will continue that fight until a fair agreement is reached for the schools Columbus Students Deserve." 

The union unanimously voted on Thursday, Aug. 4 to issue a 10-day strike notice following months of contentious contract negotiations with the Board over issues like class size, functional heating and cooling, and working conditions. The current contract expires on Sunday, Aug. 21, one day before teachers are due back in the classroom.

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The 10-day strike notice came after the Board delivered its final contract offer to the teachers’ union on Thursday, July 28 — a “fair, comprehensive, and respectful” agreement in the eyes of the Board but a “take it or leave it” deal that CEA President John Coneglio said the union will not accept, demanding continued negotiations.

A few days later, the board said it is preparing “alternative outcomes” should a strike happen.

Board of Education President Jennifer Adair said the Board is "deeply troubled" by the CEA's intent to strike, claiming that after its 20th negotiating session on Wednesday, the CEA failed to respond to the Board's offer, including questions about compensation.

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"CEA has continued to refuse to provide a response to all remaining issues," Adair said in a statement. "With this lack of good faith efforts by CEA, we believe announcing a strike is premature and a disservice to our school community."

The Board said it is determined to reach a contract agreement to prevent a strike that it said would be "disruptive" and harmful to students.

According to the union, some of the sticking points in the contract include HVAC issues in district schools, recruiting and retaining teachers, and smaller class sizes. Sufficient planning time for teachers, a cap on the number of class periods during the day, and outsourcing positions to private, for-profit corporations are also a point of contention, CEA said.

15-year-old boy reported missing from Lithopolis

Both sides have filed unfair labor practice complaints with the State Employment Relations Board: the union in July and the board earlier this month.

CEA members met with the Board on Wednesday -- the first time the two parties met for negotiations since Friday, July 29 -- to continue negotiations alongside a federal mediator, which stalled yet again with no agreement reached.

Coneglio said CEA is planning another mass meeting on Sunday, Aug. 21, the day the current teachers’ contract expires, to discuss the next steps regarding a potential strike. The first day for students is Wednesday, Aug. 24.

Should a strike happen, the union said it selected Education First Credit Union as its strike loan provider.

Categories: Ohio News

15-year-old boy reported missing from Lithopolis

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 08:36

LITHOPOLIS, Ohio (WCMH) -- A 15-year-old boy has been reported missing from Lithopolis, police said.

Michael Kee, who is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds, reportedly left his Lithopolis home Wednesday evening and has yet to return, according to a Thursday news release from the Lithopolis Police Department.

Car falls 50 feet in deadly Columbus quarry crash

Police said the 15-year-old was last seen wearing a Bugs Bunny Space Jam shirt with black basketball shorts.

Anyone with information about Kee's whereabouts is encouraged to contact Lithopolis police at 740-652-7911.

Categories: Ohio News

Beautiful weather heading into the weekend

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 07:55

Skies cleared this morning following the passage of a cold front, as high pressure builds down from Canada into the Ohio Valley. Temperatures cooled this morning into the upper 50s and low 60s in central Ohio for the first time this month.

A secondary cold front could trigger a few late day showers, with skies alternating between sun and clouds. Readings will top out near 80 degrees. Behind the front, cooler and drier air will move in to start the weekend, after a steamy start to August.

Sunshine will be abundant Saturday, with a few clouds. A disturbance will drift across the region later in the weekend, bringing some showers beginning on Sunday and lingering into early next week. Highs will dip down into the mid-70s with clouds and occasional rain.

Forecast
  • Thursday: Partly sunny, passing shower p.m. High 80 (62)
  • Tonight: Clearing, comfortable. Low 55
  • Friday: Pleasant sunshine, low humidity. High 78
  • Saturday: Sunny. High 80 (57)
  • Sunday: Clouds return, few showers. High 75 (64)
  • Monday: Showers linger. High 78 (62)
  • Tuesday: More showers. High 77 (62)
  • Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High 78 (60)
Categories: Ohio News

Columbus police arrest 44-year-old accused of killing man near Milo-Grogan bar

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 07:51

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) -- Columbus police have arrested a 44-year-old accused of killing a man outside a bar in July.

Dwann Joseph Anderson, of Columbus, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly shooting 40-year-old Tyreece Jefferson outside a bar in the Milo-Grogan neighborhood on Thursday, July 21, according to a news release from the Columbus Division of Police.

Mount Vernon man describes horror of crash that killed his wife

Around 10:15 p.m., police arrived at the 700 block of St. Clair Avenue where they found Jefferson suffering from a gunshot wound, police said. He was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition where he later died at 10:41 p.m.

Jefferson, whose death marked the 77th homicide in Columbus in 2022, was reportedly involved in an altercation with Anderson that led to the shooting.

During his arraignment in Franklin County Municipal Court on Wednesday, Anderson received a $1 million bond, according to court records.

Categories: Ohio News

Ohio health officials speaking on monkeypox, COVID-19 Thursday

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 07:23

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) - The Ohio Department of Health's head official is holding a press conference over two different high-profile diseases in the state.

ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff is set to speak about COVID-19 and monkeypox starting at 11 a.m. OhioHealth's Medical Director of Infectious Diseases, Joe Gastaldo, and Michael Forbes with Akron Children's Hospital are both set to join Vanderhoff during the conference.

NBC4 will stream the conference in the live player above.

The conference comes as Ohio is on the verge of breaking 3 million all-time COVID-19 cases. In ODH's last update, it reported the state had seen 2,976,027 cases altogether as the state was consistently pacing at over 20,000 new cases per week.

Categories: Ohio News

Ryan Day set to speak at 11:30 as Ohio State continues fall camp

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 06:52

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State football coach Ryan Day is set to speak with members of the media at 11:30 a.m. Thursday as the Buckeyes continue fall camp.

So far, OSU's running backs, offensive and linebackers have discussed the new season.

Browns: Deshaun Watson will play first preseason game

On Tuesday, defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said he likes how the Buckeyes are progressing under his new system and highlighted OSU's depth at defensive line. The Buckeyes will be a safety-led team, sometimes playing five at the same time in certain packages.

Knowles coaches linebackers as well and said the group will be led by middle backer Tommy Eichenberg and outside backer Steele Chambers.

Ohio State begins its season Sept. 3 at home agianst Notre Dame under the lights at Ohio Stadium.

Categories: Ohio News

Perseid meteor shower peaks this week: How to watch

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 05:30

(WCMH) -- The annual Perseid meteor shower is considered to be one of the best celestial shows of the year, peaking Thursday night and early Friday morning.

One obvious concern for skywatchers later this week is the full moon Thursday, although meteors can be seen in the days before and after peak, weather permitting.

Every year at the same time, Earth transits through the debris trail left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, as it orbits through the inner solar system. A combination of dust, along with tiny fragments of rock and ice, burn up in Earth's atmosphere in the wake of the comet's orbit, creating faint streaks of light.

Central Ohio's most accurate forecast

Meteors are best seen in dark, rural skies, though an occasional spectacular fireball adds to the nighttime display.

Comet Swift-Tuttle has a nucleus of 16 miles, passing the sun at a rapid speed, completing a full orbit once every 133 years.

Weather conditions later this week

The most important element in viewing any meteor shower is sky conditions. Cloud cover and light fog often diminish or block the view in Ohio.

Current indications are that the sky will be partly cloudy Thursday night, with a clearing trend. The weekend should be ideal, with mainly clear skies and lower humidity, to catch even sporadic meteors when the moon is not overly bright.

Where to see the meteor showers?

Under ideal conditions, we can see up to 60-plus meteors per hour during the height of the Perseids, but moonlight will limit the count to perhaps 10 to 20 over a period of several hours in an optimally dark sky.

The best way to view the meteor shower is to scout out a safe location well away from city lights. The meteors will emanate from the northeastern sky in the vicinity of the constellation Perseus.

Make sure you allow yourself up to a half-hour for your eyes to adjust to the nighttime sky and just focus on a fixed point.

Categories: Ohio News

How to help clear the shelter, adopt a dog

News Channel 4 - Thu, 08/11/2022 - 05:00

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) - The Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center and NBC4i.com teamed up starting in March to profile a dog available for adoption every week.

The preview has been popular enough that during the past two weeks, Sheka was adopted the same day she was featured and Rocky was adopted the day after his profile was published.

This week's article is a look back at many of the dogs who have found homes and previewing next week's Clear the Shelters event. The shelter will waive all adoption fees for every dog available for adoption, meaning potential adopters would only need to purchase the dog license for $18.

Get out and do something in central Ohio: Aug. 11-16

If you cannot adopt a dog right away, you can help by volunteering to take a dog home for five days. The goal is to get every dog out of the shelter so that a deep cleansing can be performed throughout the building. Below is the information you need to learn about the Sleepover event.

Ready to host a shelter dog for a #FCDSSleepover? Everyone interested in participating in the Sleepover portion of the event will pick up a dog from the shelter on Saturday, Aug. 20 or Sunday, Aug. 21 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and return the dog to the shelter on Tuesday, Aug. 23 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center
  • All sleepover supplies will be provided. You provide your houseguest with a comfy place to rest their heads and lots of love while letting the shelter provide the rest.
  • Should you fall in love with your houseguest, most adoptions can be finalized over the phone at a later date (WAIVED adoption fee* will still apply!)
  • Hosts must be able to pick up and return their houseguest within the specified dates/times. This event is not limited to Franklin County residents.
  • **Interested adopters may also visit the shelter on Saturday or Sunday (8/20 - 8/21) to participate in the sleepover event with an available dog.
When to expect cooler air and possible showers Event Schedule

Monday, Aug. 15 - ALL fees waived*
(Open for adoptions and lost dog reclaims.)

Tuesday, Aug. 16 - ALL fees waived*
(Open for adoptions and lost dog reclaims.)

Wednesday, Aug. 17 - ALL fees waived*
(Open for lost dog reclaims only.)

-Come out and meet our adoptable dogs at Huntington Park on Wednesday, Aug. 17 as the Columbus Clippers take on Toledo.

Thursday, Aug. 18 - ALL fees waived*
(Open for adoptions and lost dog reclaims.)

Friday, Aug. 19 - ALL fees waived*
(Open for lost dog reclaims only.)

SLEEPOVER Saturday, Aug. 20 - ALL fees waived*
(Open for SLEEPOVERS and lost dog reclaims only.)

SLEEPOVER Sunday, Aug. 21 - ALL fees waived*
(Open for SLEEPOVERS and lost dog reclaims only.)

CLOSED FOR CLEANING Monday, Aug. 22
(Open for lost dog reclaims only. No adoptions)

Categories: Ohio News

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