Ohio News

"I'm a kid just like you": 9-year-old boy explains autism in viral video

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 13:39

When George Yionoulis' fourth-grade teacher asked if he'd be comfortable making a presentation in class to explain his autism, the 9-year-old boy jumped at the idea. Instead of simply standing in front of the room and talking about himself, Yionoulis decided to produce his very own music video -- and now it's going viral.

"He doesn't necessarily know how far it's reached," George's mom, Lisa Jolley, told CBS News. "He didn't do this to become a YouTube sensation."

But that's exactly what happened.

The fourth-grader from Raleigh, North Carolina, originally made the six-minute video to share with his 21 classmates at Douglas Elementary. He wanted to explain why he may respond to situations differently than others.

"Sometimes he'll go over the top responding to something or he'll get upset in class and other kids don't necessarily know how to deal with it," Jolley explained. "It takes him longer to process information -- to see the big picture. Why should I be quiet? Why do I have to sit for so long while class is going? What we try and illustrate is that he has so much in his head."

But at the end of the day, as George reminded his friends in the video, "I'm a kid just like you."

George says he loves music, dancing, "Harry Potter," Minecraft and tacos.

"I like having fun just like you, so if you ever see me playing by myself it doesn't necessarily mean I don't want to play with you, too," George said in the video.

While he may have similar interests as other kids his age, George explained that his personality may be a bit different. Sometimes, he has a hard time focusing.

"Like a lot of other kids with autism I might not have been looking, but that didn't mean I wasn't listening," George said. "Speaking of listening, I can hear a lot of things and sounds all at the same time, which sometimes makes it hard to focus on any one sound or thought. That's why it may take a little more time to answer you when you ask me a question."

He also tends to take what people say literally.

"That means if you say take a seat, you might find one less chair in your classroom," George said. "If you say it's raining cats and dogs, I might think, 'Oh, I'm getting a puppy!'"

George is also very empathetic, his mom added.

"He feels everything. He's a very old soul," she said.

Jolley was so proud of George's video, which his dad, Michael Yionoulis, helped edit, that she decided to upload it onto YouTube and her personal Facebook page. Within days the video started to take off. As of Tuesday evening, more than 23,000 people have watched the video on YouTube alone.

"It's amazing to see how many people it has touched," Jolley said. "And his class loved it. They have been, according to his teacher, been taking it to heart and having more patience with him."

George was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old.

"We had him evaluated for a speech delay. He wasn't talking, so it really came out of nowhere for us," Jolley said. "He was so engaging and warm. I thought, 'He can't possibly have this.'"

As a parent of a newly diagnosed child with autism, Jolley admitted, at first, she was lost.

"Everything you planned for goes out the window. But now I realize it's not out the window, it just shifted. It's in another part of your house," she explained.

She hopes George's video helps other parents like herself and kids like George to understand that it's OK to be different. And those who don't have autism, Jolley says, can learn how to be more inclusive.

"Don't be afraid to come ask me about it," George advised his classmates. "Seriously, it's OK -- just come ask me about it. I'm a kid just like you."

Categories: Ohio News

Fugitive lawyer back in U.S. after arrest at Pizza Hut 1,500 miles away

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 13:32

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — A lawyer who spent six months on the run after pleading guilty in a $500 million Social Security fraud scheme was being flown back to Kentucky on Tuesday after he was caught outside a Pizza Hut in Honduras.

Eric Conn was handed over to the FBI after his capture by a SWAT team as he left the restaurant in the coastal city of La Ceiba. Spokesman Jorge Galindo of the country's Technical Agency of Criminal Investigation said they left Honduras on a private plane. Conn was expected to arrive in Lexington, Kentucky, late Tuesday afternoon.

"As promised, Mr. Conn will now be held accountable for his actions, the people he deceived and the lives he shattered, including all the victims of his greed in eastern Kentucky," said Amy Hess, special agent in charge of the Louisville field office for the FBI.

Conn speaks multiple languages, had crossed the border 140 times over 10 years and had told at least six people he would flee the country rather than go to jail for his crimes. Yet a federal judge released Conn on $1.25 million bail and allowed him to remain free even after he pleaded guilty in March to stealing from the federal government and bribing a judge to fix Social Security fraud cases.

Conn fled on June 2. He cut off his electronic ankle monitor and put it inside a metallic pouch designed to suppress electronic signals, authorities said. While nearly a dozen law enforcement agencies searched for the fugitive, he was sentenced in absentia last summer to a 12-year prison term — the maximum possible.

Now 57 according to his FBI wanted poster, Conn faces many more years in prison if convicted of charges related to his escape.

Authorities interviewed dozens of people, analyzed his bank accounts, and meticulously read through emails and social media posts purported to be from Conn. They searched his former law office and his mother's house in Stanville, Kentucky. The hunt led searchers to a Walmart parking lot in New Mexico over the summer and, finally, to the Pizza Hut in Honduras on Saturday.

Ultimately, the Honduras public magistrate's office said his arrest was "the product of arduous intelligence, surveillance, and tailing by the agents."

Conn, wearing a blue polo shirt with close-cropped, reddish-gray hair, was led away in handcuffs by Honduran police agents with ballistic vests and assault rifles, and then turned over to the FBI, which flew him home in a private plane.

Conn's capture was cheered by his former clients and their families, who have struggled to make ends meet while fighting to keep their Social Security disability checks.

"That's wonderful," said Donna Dye, whose husband was among Conn's clients in Appalachia. "I never thought they would catch him. He let people like my husband have trust in him, and he let that down."

Federal authorities claim Conn had help in escaping.

An indictment unsealed in October alleged that one of his employees opened a bank account Conn used to transfer money, tested security at the Mexican border and bought a pickup truck for use in Conn's escape. The employee, Curtis Lee Wyatt, has pleaded not guilty to aiding in Conn's escape and abetting his failure to appear.

The same indictment claims Conn hatched his escape plot around June 2016, two months after he was first indicted and a year before his disappearance.

Conn, who started his law practice in a trailer in 1993, had portrayed himself as "Mr. Social Security." He fueled that persona with outlandish TV commercials and small-scale replicas of the Statue of Liberty and the Lincoln Memorial at his office in eastern Kentucky.

Conn represented thousands of successful claims for Social Security benefits. But his empire crumbled when authorities discovered he had been bribing a doctor and judge to approve disability claims based on fake medical evidence.

Among his former clients in the impoverished coalfields of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia are many people with legitimate disabilities.

Donna Dye's husband, Timothy, was among the throngs of Conn's clients who had to fight to keep their disability checks. Timothy Dye went on disability for chronic arthritis after working decades in coal mines.

"I have gone through hell," she said by phone Tuesday. "My husband's gone through hell. It's just been nothing but pain and struggle and worries. Just pure pressure."

Ned Pillersdorf, an eastern Kentucky attorney representing hundreds of Conn's former clients, said Conn caused a "true humanitarian crisis."

"With his capture, I'm hoping we can get this ordeal behind us, put him in prison where he belongs and start to undo the damage he has done to his former clients," Pillersdorf said by phone Monday night.

As part of the fallout, the Social Security Administration identified about 1,500 beneficiaries, mostly in eastern Kentucky, who were made to undergo hearings. Pillersdorf said those hearings are nearly complete, and about 700 have been found eligible to maintain the benefits.

Categories: Ohio News

Mother indicted in connection with newborn daughter's fatal overdose

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 11:59

A mother has been indicted in connection with the fatal overdose of her 27-day-old daughter in April.

According to the Franklin County Coroner’s Office, Loucia Kinsell had cocaine and methadone in her system.

It is not clear how the drugs entered the infant's system.

The report shows Kinsell was in bed with her parents and her mother, 26-year-old Nina Straty, had breastfed the baby a few hours earlier. When the parents woke up, they found her unresponsive.

A Franklin County Grand Jury indicted Straty on charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering children.

Prosecutor Ron O'Brien also announced that a 26-year-old man in Franklin County was charged in connection with the death of his 3-year-old son in September. The 3-year-old shot himself in the head after he and his twin brother found a loaded gun inside their Madison Township home.

Categories: Ohio News

Logan-Hocking Schools on precautionary lockdown after threat

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 10:51

LOGAN -- Logan-Hocking Schools are on a precautionary lockdown after an unspecified threat.

It happened just before noon on Wednesday.

The Logan Police Department told 10TV someone made an off-handed comment in front of the Hopewell Health Center House near the schools.

Authorities said this lockdown was put in place district-wide for the safety of the students.

Stay with 10TV for updates on this developing story.

Categories: Ohio News

Sen. Al Franken to make announcement Thursday amid calls for his resignation

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 10:41

UPDATE: Faced with multiple calls to resign, Democratic Sen. Al Franken's office says he will have an announcement on Thursday.


Sen. Al Franken's support among his fellow Democrats is cratering as a host of female Democratic senators Wednesday called upon him to resign.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., all called on Franken to step down.

The calls came as another woman accused Franken of sexual misconduct in an account to Politico.

"I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn't acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve," Gillibrand said.

The demands came in rapid succession after Franken on Wednesday vehemently denied a new sexual misconduct accusation that came from a former Democratic congressional aide that he tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006.

The Minnesota Democrat said in a statement that the allegation, reported by Politico, was "categorically not true."

The woman, who was not identified by name, said Franken pursued her after her boss had left and she was collecting her belongings. She said she ducked to avoid his lips, and that Franken told her: "It's my right as an entertainer."

Franken, in his statement, said the idea he would claim such conduct as a right as an entertainer was "preposterous."

But the tide quickly turned against Franken Wednesday morning. Fellow Democrats had previously been cautious and respected Franken's right to cooperate with an ethics probe. But the steady stream of allegations has female Democrats fed up.

"I'm shocked and appalled by Sen. Franken's behavior," Murray said. "It's clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time. It's time for him to step aside."

A spokesman for Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had no immediate comment.

Franken already faced a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into previous claims by several other women that he groped them or sought to forcibly kiss them.

"This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous," Franken said. "I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation."

The allegations against Franken began in mid-November when Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour.

Several other allegations have followed, including a woman who says that Franken put his hand on her buttocks during a picture pose at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. Two women, who asked to remain anonymous, have told the Huffington Post that Franken squeezed their buttocks at political events during his first campaign for the Senate in 2008. A fourth woman, an Army veteran, alleged Franken cupped her breast during a photo op on a USO tour in 2003.

Franken has apologized for his behavior but he has disputed some of the allegations.

Categories: Ohio News

State auditor calls for suspension of marijuana cultivator licenses in Ohio

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 09:43

Columbus, Ohio – The state auditor called on the Commerce Department to suspend the issuance of Level 1 cultivator's licenses for medical marijuana.

This comes after reports that one of the application graders was a convicted drug dealer, according to Auditor of State Dave Yost.

Reports state that in 2005 Trevor C. Bozeman, one of three consultants hired to evaluate and grade applications for the licenses, pled guilty to possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance in Pennsylvania.

“This is an epic failure. I am outraged,” said Yost, a former county prosecutor. “The only proper course of action is to freeze the process, and independently review the evaluation and scoring from the ground up. And the Administration needs to explain how this drug dealer ended up telling the government how to run its fledgling medical marijuana program.”

Yost said without such assurances, the entire program is tainted.

The state auditor says he has directed his staff to seek additional information to determine whether there were errors made during the selection and whether any hiring errors impacted the grading of the license applications.

“We can't wait for a rear-view mirror audit,” Yost added. “The Commerce Department needs to act today before this train leaves the station.”

Categories: Ohio News

Father charged in 3-year-old son's shooting death

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 09:27

A man has been indicted for involuntary manslaughter and endangering children in the death of his 3-year-old son in September.

The 3-year-old shot himself in the head after he and his twin brother found a loaded gun inside their Madison Township home.

The boy was transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital where he died.

On Wednesday, a Franklin County Grand Jury indicted the father, 26-year-old Steven Wallen, for involuntary manslaughter and endangering children for not properly storing his gun.

Prosecutor Ron O'Brien also announced on Wednesday that a 24-year-old woman in Franklin County was charged in connection with the death of her newborn daughter in April. The 27-day-old died as a result of acute intoxication by methadone and cocaine, according to the coroner's office.

Categories: Ohio News

Police: Woman drove with transit sign sticking out of car

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 09:25

SOUTH HACKENSACK, N.J. — Police in New Jersey says a woman was drunk when she continued driving with a mass transit sign sticking out of the roof of her car.

The 52-year-old was pulled over Saturday on Route 46 in South Hackensack when police noticed something odd. Police say the woman had a New Jersey Transit sign protruding through the roof of her car.

Police say the woman didn't even know the sign was there.

South Hackensack police say the sign got stuck in the vehicle when the driver was in Secaucus before she was pulled over.

The woman has been charged with driving while intoxicated and careless driving.

Categories: Ohio News

Mother of boy who fatally OD'd on cocaine gets probation

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 09:18

YOUNGSTOWN — The mother of a 9-year-old Ohio boy who fatally overdosed on cocaine has received probation instead of prison.

The sentencing Tuesday for 38-year-old Raenell Allen, of Youngstown, on a child endangering charge, comes days after her boyfriend, 38-year-old Kevin Gamble, received 4 ½ years in prison for the death last December of 9-year-old Marcus Lee.

Prosecutors and a defense attorney recommended the sentence as part of a plea deal after Allen agreed to testify against Gamble if needed.

Gamble pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangering in October.

Prosecutors say the cocaine belonged to Gamble, but it remains unclear how Marcus got access to the drugs. Allen told prosecutors that Marcus was autistic and would sometimes put things into his mouth.

Allen's attorney couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus Fire responds to hazmat situation in east Columbus

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 08:26

COLUMBUS - The Columbus Division of Fire responded to a hazmat situation in east Columbus on Wednesday.

It happened around 9:45 a.m. in the 5900 block of East Main Street.

Battalion Chief Steve Martin told 10TV a man became ill after being exposed to a substance in a vacant suite of a strip mall.

Martin said the landlord of the building flushed a toilet with low water levels in the vacant suite. An orange liquid appeared from a chemical reaction mix of ammonia and drain cleaner product causing the man then became ill, according to the chief.

Medics treated him at the scene.

Stay with 10TV for updates on this developing story.

Categories: Ohio News

FDA approves diabetes drug that also helps with weight loss

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 08:01

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — U.S. regulators on Tuesday approved a new diabetes drug that reduces blood sugar levels and also helps people lose significant weight.

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk said the Food and Drug Administration approved its once-a-week shot for people with Type 2 diabetes. The drug, Ozempic, also known as semaglutide, works by stimulating the body's own insulin production and reducing appetite.

In one big company-funded study, Ozempic, on average, reduced long-term blood sugar levels at least 2 ½ times as much as a popular daily diabetes pill, Merck & Co.'s Januvia. It also helped study participants lose two to three times as much weight as those in the comparison group.

Over 56 weeks, patients who got a lower dose of Ozempic lost an average of 9.5 pounds (4.3 kilograms) while those who got a higher dose lost 13.5 pounds (6.1 kilograms). The patients who took Januvia lost an average of 4 pounds (1.9 kilograms).

The 1,200 study participants were also taking one or two standard diabetes medicines.

Novo Nordisk, a leader in diabetes care, has also been testing the drug separately for weight loss alone.

Many Type 2 diabetes patients are overweight or obese, and losing significant weight usually helps them reduce their blood sugar and better control their diabetes. Over time, too high sugar in the blood can damage multiple organs and weaken circulation.

The new drug comes in injector pens and costs about the same as similar weekly drugs: $676 for a four- to six-week supply without insurance. Novo Nordisk already sells a similar once-a-day shot, Victoza.

Ozempic will compete with other popular once-a-week drugs in the same class, including Eli Lilly and Co.'s Trulicity and AstraZeneca PLC's Bydureon, which don't produce as much weight loss. However, they all carry warnings about possible serious side effects, including kidney damage and inflammation of the pancreas. They also may be linked to thyroid cancer, so people taking all drugs in the class are being followed via a patient registry.

Januvia is in a different drug class.

Categories: Ohio News

House approves Ohio bill to expand flying of POW/MIA flag

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 06:54

A bill to expand when the POW/MIA military flag is flown is on its way to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

The legislation requires the flag be flown at state-operated buildings on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day.

The Ohio House approved the legislation Wednesday. Federal law already requires the flag to be flown at certain buildings such as post offices on those same days.

The flag honors members of the military who are missing in action or who were held as prisoners of war.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Scott Wiggam, a Republican from Wooster in northeastern Ohio.

Categories: Ohio News

Man held in terror plot to kill British prime minister

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 06:49

A man has been ordered held Wednesday after being accused in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May.

Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, has been remanded in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The plan allegedly involved planting a bomb near the entrance of Downing Street and then continuing the attack with a knife and suicide vest in a bid to kill the U.K. leader in the ensuing chaos.

He is charged with preparing acts of terrorism and appeared alongside another man, Mohammed Aqib Imran, who is accused of trying to join the Islamic State group but wasn't charged in connection with the assassination plot.

Rahman is also accused of assisting Imran in terror planning.

The pair was arrested in London and Birmingham on Nov. 28 by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.

Britain's media had reported earlier that two men were involved in the plot to kill May.

Categories: Ohio News

Fake makeup can be an easy buy – and a health hazard

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 06:46

There's a warning about the dangers of using counterfeit makeup and other knockoff products like toothpaste and cologne. U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a record number of counterfeit goods last year, worth nearly $1.4 billion. One of their top priorities is spotting fake toiletries that can be hazardous to your health.

Customs agents seized more than 2,000 shipments of counterfeit beauty products last year alone. They said fake personal care items are now even more common than knockoff handbags.

CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas and her team visited a warehouse near the Long Beach Seaport where officers take a closer look at suspicious packages. Most of the boxes waiting for further inspection are from China and Hong Kong. The customs officers are the first line of defense for catching illegal shipments. While the products may be fake, they can have very real health consequences for consumers.

Beauty blogger Tanya Arguelles found out first hand when she purchased a popular eyeshadow from a downtown Los Angeles street market last year. U.S. customs officers say most of the discounted goods sold there likely snuck in under the radar at sea ports like Long Beach.

"I just wanted to know, can this possibly be as good as the $50 that I just spent?" Arguelles said.

She tested both eye shadows and when she woke up the next morning, her eye was burning, uncomfortable and itchy.

"Within the first 45 minutes, I realized that it was an eye infection. I couldn't get my contacts on," Arguelles said. "I looked back at the footage and it was on the fake side. Hundred percent."

Arguelles isn't alone. Other people who have used counterfeit makeup have reported allergic reactions, skin rashes, swollen lips and chemical burns.

We wanted to find out how easy it is to find the products, so we went shopping undercover at the same downtown alley. Most of the fake makeup sold here is half the price of the original. Some vendors admitted the products were knockoffs but assured us they were just as good.

"It works the same thing as the original," one vendor said.

Back at Arguelles' studio, we compared our purchases with the same makeup from traditional retail stores. The packaging is nearly identical.

Some fake makeup has reportedly been found to contain dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, mercury and aluminum. We sent the fake and real versions of a Mac lipstick and a Jaclyn Hill eye shadow palette to a lab where they were tested for 12 different metals. Most concerning: some of the eye shadows in the fake palette had nearly four times the amount of lead as those in the real version. In one, the amount exceeded the FDA recommended maximum of 10 parts per million. The fake lipstick had nearly 15 times the amount of lead as the real thing.

"Often the unsafe consumer goods are made in factories… have unsanitary conditions," said Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner for Office of Trade at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "So the quality is not to what you need it to be."

Customs and Border Protection said the counterfeit products are costing the cosmetic industry about $75 million a year. They said reducing the amount of fake products smuggled into the country could be as simple as educating customers.

"The furthest they think is, I'm just buying a fake palette. They don't think that there could be ingredients in here that could put my health at risk," Arguelles said.

Fake products like makeup aren't just sold in downtown Los Angeles. Costumers need to pay close attention to hot ticket items they find online if the prices seem too good to be true. Beauty bloggers say the best way to know you are getting the real thing is to log onto the cosmetic company's official website to find out where their items are sold.

Categories: Ohio News

Airbnb guests are finding hidden cameras planted in their rentals

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 06:34

Airbnb is tackling privacy concerns after several customers found hidden cameras at their rental properties. The company told CBS News it "takes privacy extremely seriously and there is absolutely no place in our community for this kind of behavior."

Airbnb requires hosts to disclose to guests prior to their stay if they have any cameras on their property. The company says cameras are "never allowed in bathrooms or bedrooms" but that doesn't always stop ill-intentioned hosts from hiding them, reports CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.

"I was like this could be like the day that I get killed or worse, I don't know," said Meghan Hilden.

The 22-year-old from Washington State was in Switzerland in 2016 when she says a friend discovered a cellphone under the sink in the bathroom at their Airbnb.

"We saw that the phone was filming and we were whispering and trying to be very quiet. We weren't sure if it was being live streamed," Hilden said.

Soon after, Hilden says they found an iPad also recording. They quickly left, and reported the incident to the company.

There have been other similar incidents. In late November, activist and filmmaker Jason Scott tweeted his colleague found a camera disguised in a motion detector at an Airbnb. The company called the discovery "incredibly rare," and said the host was banned. In October, an Indiana couple said they found a camera in a smoke detector in the bedroom at their Airbnb in Florida. The home owner was arrested for "video voyeurism."

"Simply put, property owners can be 'peeping toms,'" said Cameron Russel, a professor at Fordham University School of Law.

Russel said someone could legally do this this if they give written notice.

"It's conceivable if they gave you enough specific notice that they were going to do this," he said. "Written notice, notice as to the locations of the camera and that you willingly consented to them."

In June, a German tourist settled with Airbnb for an undisclosed amount after allegedly finding a hidden "remote-controlled camera" at a property in California.

Hilden said while Airbnb refunded her for the Switzerland stay, and reimbursed her for other travel expenses, she still felt it wasn't enough.

"I think that that was probably the bare minimum of what they could have done to help us out. For all we know he still has the videos that were on the iPad," Hilden said.

The company told CBS News about two million people use Airbnb on any given night, and they are always willing to work with law enforcement when complaints are made. Experts say there are a few things consumers can do to protect themselves: invest in a digital device detector, search rooms and use a flash light to try and spot lenses.

Categories: Ohio News

Report: West Coast homeless crisis pushes US count higher

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 06:18

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The nation's homeless population increased this year for the first time since 2010, driven by a surge in the number of people living on the streets in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released its annual Point in Time count Wednesday, a report that showed nearly 554,000 homeless people across the country during local tallies conducted in January. That figure is up nearly 1 percent from 2016.

Of that total, 193,000 people had no access to nightly shelter and instead were staying in vehicles, tents, the streets and other places considered uninhabitable. The unsheltered figure is up by more than 9 percent compared to two years ago.

Increases are higher in several West Coast cities, where the explosion in homelessness has prompted at least 10 city and county governments to declare states of emergency since 2015.

City officials, homeless advocates and those living on the streets point to a main culprit: the region's booming economy .

Rents have soared beyond affordability for many lower-wage workers who until just a just few years ago could typically find a place to stay. Now, even a temporary setback can be enough to leave them out on the streets.

"A lot of people in America don't realize they might be two checks, three checks, four checks away from being homeless," said Thomas Butler Jr., who stays in a carefully organized tent near a freeway ramp in downtown Los Angeles.

Butler said he was in transitional housing — a type of program that prepares people for permanent homes — for a while but mostly has lived on the streets for the past couple of years.

The numbers in the report back up what many people in California, Oregon and Washington have been experiencing in their communities: encampments sprouting along freeways and rivers; local governments struggling to come up with money for long-term solutions; conflicts over whether to crack down on street camping and even feeding the homeless.

The most alarming consequence of the West Coast homeless explosion is a deadly hepatitis A outbreak that has affected Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and San Diego, the popular tourist destination in a county where more than 5,600 people now live on the streets or in their cars. The disease is spread through a liver-damaging virus that lives in feces.

The outbreak prompted California officials to declare a state of emergency in October.

The HUD report underscores the severity of the problem along the West Coast.

While the overall homeless population in California, Oregon and Washington grew by 14 percent over the past two years, the part of that population considered unsheltered climbed 23 percent to 108,000. That is in part due a shortage of affordable housing.

In booming Seattle, for example, the HUD report shows the unsheltered population grew by 44 percent over two years to nearly 5,500.

The homeless service area that includes most of Los Angeles County, the epicenter of the crisis, saw its total homeless count top 55,000 people, up by more than 13,000 from 2016. Four out of every five homeless individuals there are considered unsheltered, leaving tens of thousands of people with no place to sleep other than the streets or parks.

By comparison, while New York City's homeless population grew to more than 76,000, only about 5 percent are considered unsheltered thanks to a system that can get people a cot under a roof immediately.

In the West Coast states, the surge in homelessness has become part of the fabric of daily life.

The Monty, a bar in the Westlake neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles, usually doesn't open until 8 p.m. Partner and general manager Corey Allen said that's because a nearby shelter requires people staying there to be in the building by 7. Waiting until after that to open means the streets outside are calmer.

Allen said the homeless have come into his bar to bathe in the restroom wash basins, and employees have developed a strategy for stopping people from coming in to panhandle among customers.

Seventy-eight-year-old Theodore Neubauer sees the other side of it. Neubauer says he served in Vietnam but now lives in a tent in downtown Los Angeles. He is surrounded by thriving business and entertainment districts, and new apartments that are attracting scores of young people to the heart of the nation's second most populous city.

"Well, there's a million-dollar view," he said.

Helping those like Neubauer is a top policy priority and political issue in Los Angeles.

Since last year, voters in the city and Los Angeles County have passed a pair of tax-boosting ballot initiatives to raise an expected $4.7 billion over the next decade for affordable housing and services for the homeless. HUD Secretary Ben Carson praised the region for dealing with the issue and not relying solely on the federal government.

"We need to move a little bit away from the concept that only the government can solve the problem," he said.

But Mayor Eric Garcetti said that insufficient federal funding for affordable housing and anti-homelessness programs are part of the reason for the city's current crisis.

"Los Angeles' homelessness crisis was not created in a vacuum, and it cannot be solved by L.A. alone," Garcetti said in a statement.

Excluding the Los Angeles region, total homelessness nationwide would have been down by about 1.5 percent compared with 2016.

The California counties of Sacramento, which includes the state capital, and Alameda, which is home to Oakland, also had one-year increases of more than 1,000 homeless people.

In contrast, the HUD report showed a long-running decline in homelessness continuing in most other regions. Nationally, the overall homeless number was down by 13 percent since 2010 and the unsheltered number has dropped by 17 percent over that seven-year span, although some changes in methodology and definitions over the years can affect comparisons.

Places where the numbers went down included Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, the Denver area and Hawaii, which declared a statewide homelessness emergency in 2015.

The homeless point-in-time survey is based on counts at shelters and on the streets. While imperfect, it attempts to represent how many people are homeless at a given time. Those who work regularly with the homeless say it is certainly an undercount, although many advocates and officials believe it correctly identifies trend lines.

The report is submitted to Congress and used by government agencies as a factor in distributing money for programs designed to help the homeless.

Categories: Ohio News

White House to review whether bump stocks should be banned

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 05:16

Two months after a gunman used bump stocks to shoot hundreds of people in Las Vegas, President Donald Trump's administration announced Tuesday that it's reviewing whether the federal government should ban the device.

In a joint statement from the Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that possessing firearm parts that are used to convert a weapon into a machine gun is illegal, except for "limited circumstances."

"Today we begin the process of determining whether or not bump stocks are covered by this prohibition," Sessions said. "We will go through the regulatory process that is required by law and we will be attentive to input from the public. This Department is serious about firearms offenses, as shown by the dramatic increase in firearms prosecutions this year."

The administration said that the ATF has already begun the process to consult the public and the industry and to allow them to weigh in on the final decision.

After the Las Vegas shooting in early October at a country music festival, there was momentum in Congress to ban bump stocks, but it has since died down.

GOP leaders have suggested that the Obama administration is to blame for allowing the sale of device and that the executive branch should simply reverse the policy. Without legislation, however, it seems unlikely that the Trump administration could do that unilaterally, given its previous assessments of the device.

The ATF is the federal agency that reviewed the bump stock device manufactured by the company Slide Fire and determined in 2010 that the accessory complied with the law. Machines guns have been outlawed since 1986. ATF officials determined in their evaluation of the product that it could not be regulated by the agency.

"The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed," John Spencer, the chief of the ATF's Firearms Technology Branch, wrote to Slide Fire in a 2010 letter. "We find that the "bump-stock" is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under Gun Control Act [GCA] or the National Firearms Act [NFA]."

It went on to say that in using the device, the "shooter must apply constant forward pressure with the non-shooting hand and constant rearward pressure with the shooting hand."

Categories: Ohio News

Two teens missing from Lancaster

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 05:09

Lancaster Police Department is asking for helping finding two teenagers who have not been seen since Tuesday afternoon.

Police posted on Facebook that 14-year-old Jazmine Heisa and 13-year-old Morgan Cook were last seen leaving the area of General Sherman Junior High School around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

They are believed to still be in Lancaster.

Police ask anyone with information on their whereabouts to call Lancaster Police Department at 740-687-6680.

Categories: Ohio News

"The Silence Breakers" are 2017 TIME Magazine Person of the Year

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 05:06

NEW YORK CITY -- TIME Magazine announced its 2017 Person of the Year Wednesday as "The Silence Breakers," or members of the #MeToo movement.

In the wake of revelations about Harvey Weinstein and other men, millions have shared their stories about being sexually harassed and assaulted.

The magazine had released a shortlist on Monday including Jeff Bezos, The Dreamers, Patty Jenkins, Kim Jong Un, Colin Kaepernick, The #MeToo movement, Robert Mueller, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.

Earlier this week, voters in the online reader poll chose Mohammed bin Salman as the Person of the Year. TIME editors make the ultimate selection — identified as the person or group of people who, for better or worse, wielded the most influence in the previous 12 months. The poll provides insight about how readers view the people who most shaped the year.

You can see the entire story from TIME here.

Categories: Ohio News

Google blocks YouTube on Amazon devices in escalating feud

Channel 10 news - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 04:44
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Google is pulling its popular YouTube video service from Amazon's Fire TV and Echo Show devices in an escalating feud that has caught consumers in the crossfire.

Google says the decision to block YouTube is retaliation for Amazon's refusal to sell some Google products that compete with Amazon gadgets. That includes Google's Chromecast streaming device, an alternative to Fire TV, and an internet-connected speaker called Home, which is trying to catch up to Amazon's market-leading Echo. Amazon's high-end Echo Show has a screen that can display video.

Google is hoping to pressure Amazon into selling Google's products.

Amazon also has rankled Google by declining to sell an internet-connected thermostat made by Nest, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., like Google.

Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
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