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Whitehall police investigating homicide after man found dead in crashed car

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 16:30

WHITEHALL, Ohio — Police are investigating after a man was found dead in a vehicle in Whitehall Tuesday night.

According to Whitehall police, officers responded to the area of McAllister Avenue and Pierce Avenue just before 11:30 p.m. on a report of a silver car that had crashed into a fire hydrant and came to a stop in front of a home.

Police say 20-year-old Michael A. Hogan of Columbus was in the driver’s side of the vehicle and had suffered at least gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A witness reported seeing a passenger leave the vehicle and run east. Police say he is described as a young black male wearing a white tank top and blue jean shorts.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Whitehall Division of Police.

Categories: Ohio News

Vandals target cars in Delaware neighborhood

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 16:23

DELAWARE, Ohio — Glass is still littered on the streets and garbage bags cover broken out windows. In total, nearly a dozen car windows were broken out in the area of Pinecrest Drive in Delaware, with nothing stolen.

“It's pretty frustrating, you miss work, money comes out of your pocket to replace things that were unnecessarily broken,” said Tom Cook, whose truck window was broken.

Cook has lived in the northwest Delaware neighborhood since 2004 and says he's never seen anything like this.

“Not straight up vandalism where people just destroy our property,” he said.

He says the worst part was the timing.

“It was pouring rain, yeah. Pouring rain with a missing window equals really soggy glass-filled car,” Cook said.

Just down the street, Konrad Young says it will cost $1,500 to fix the window on the conversion van he uses to deliver meals to the less fortunate.

“I didn't end up doing my food bank that day because I use this, and it was shattered all over the inside,” Young said.

Delaware police are asking if you have surveillance cameras at your house, take a look. If you caught anything, give them a call.

“At this point, we've had at least 8-10 reports and we would encourage anyone who has had their car damaged during that same time frame to reach out to us because we want to make sure we have an accurate picture,” said Captain Adam Moore.

Young hopes the vandals are caught and learn a lesson.

“I hope you grow up and you feel bad about it in the future when you are mature and think about how you interrupted people's lives,” Young said.

Categories: Ohio News

NWS explains the small funnel clouds spotted around central Ohio Wednesday

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 15:48

Small funnel clouds were reported around central Ohio Wednesday, which the National Weather Service says rarely cause damage.

According to NWS, these small funnel clouds can develop suddenly from showers and thunderstorms and are usually thin and needle-like in appearance. These funnel clouds rarely reach the ground and are unlikely to cause significant damage if they did.

The funnel clouds were reported from viewers in Franklin, Madison and Pickaway counties.

As of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Storm Prediction Center did not have Ohio under any risk for tornadoes.

Categories: Ohio News

Flash Flood Warning issued for Franklin County until 11:30 p.m. Wednesday

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 15:22

Doppler 10 Weather Resources: Interactive Radar | Live Radar | Weather Warnings

The National Weather Service in Wilmington has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Franklin County Until 11:30 p.m.

Update from NWS: Radar indicated that thunderstorms had produced up to two inches of rain across the warned area. Additional thunderstorms will produce another inch of rain or more over the next hour. Runoff from this excessive rainfall will cause flash flooding to occur.

Some locations that will experience flooding include Columbus, Darbydale, Grove City, Dublin, Westerville, Upper Arlington, Ohio State University, Urbancrest, Gahanna, Hilliard, Worthington, Bexley, Canal Winchester, Minerva Park, Lake Darby, Easton, Whitehall and Grandview Heights.

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9:20 p.m. Update: I-71 is blocked due to flooding in both directions in the area between I-670 and 11th Avenue.

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8:35 p.m. Update: Flash Flood Warning for Franklin County until 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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8:13 p.m. Update: Flash Flood Warning for Noble County until 11:15 p.m. Wednesday.

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5:15 p.m. Update: Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Logan County until 5:45 p.m.

SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY GUIDE

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WATCHES & WARNINGS

Watch
A Watch indicates the possibility of severe weather in a relatively broad area. For instance, a tornado watch means conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. Go about your normal routines, but watch for threatening weather.

Warning
A Warning is issued when severe weather is actually occurring. For instance, a tornado warning means a tornado has actually been sighted or has been indicated by radar. The warning usually encompasses a relatively small geographic area. If a warning is issued for the area in which you live, take cover immediately!

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TORNADOES AREN'T THE ONLY REASON TO STAY ALERT

Strong Winds
Strong winds of 55 mph or more can cause significant damage even though no tornado is present. "Downbursts" are columns of air that slam to the earth and spread high winds in many directions. Downbursts can be just as damaging as tornadoes; if such conditions are present, take the same precautions as you would for a tornado.

Lightning
Lightning claims more lives every year than tornadoes. When lightning is a threat, stay indoors and don't use electrical appliances. If you're caught outside, keep a safe distance from tall objects, and try to stay lower than anything nearby. A safe distance from a tree is twice its height.

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TAKING COVER

Storms producing tornadoes in Ohio often approach from the southwest. They can travel at speeds up to 70 miles per hour and contain winds estimated at over 200 miles per hour.

Sometimes an approaching tornado will sound like the roar of a train or airplane. If you see or hear a tornado, take cover immediately. Seek shelter inside, preferably below ground level. Do not waste time opening windows; tornado-force winds will "open" the windows well before the pressure difference can cause any structural damage. Above all, protect your head and lie flat.

At Home
Get away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the basement. If you have no basement, go to a first floor bathroom, closet or room at the center of the house. If possible, get under heavy furniture and cover your head with blankets or pillows.

At School
Go the lowest floor or basement. Go to small interior rooms or hallways. Stay away from windows and avoid auditoriums, gyms and other areas with wide, free-span roofs.

In Public Buildings
Go immediately to the designated shelter area or to an interior hallway or small room on the lowest level. Stay away from windows. Do not use elevators. Do not go to your car.

Categories: Ohio News

Fentanyl being mixed with all street drugs, Columbus health officials warn

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 15:12

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Officials from Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health are issuing an advisory due to an increase in drug overdoses locally.

According to Columbus Public Health, fentanyl is being mixed in with street drugs, including meth and cocaine.

“All recreational drug users and anyone affected by a substance use disorder should have naloxone on hand. It can save your life,” the department wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday.

The department says naloxone and fentanyl test strips will be provided on a walk-in basis from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Safe Point, 1267 W. Broad St.

Columbus Public Health also advises anyone suspecting an overdose to call 911 immediately.

For more information, including more locations for naloxone and fentanyl test strips, click here.

Categories: Ohio News

Ross County residents wake up to water surrounding their homes following heavy rain

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 15:05

ROSS COUNTY, Ohio — Residents in Knockemstiff, Ross County, woke up Wednesday morning to water surrounding their homes.

Kenzie Roberts tried to leave for work around 6 a.m. She said she walked outside where the water looked like a river flowing through her yard.

She said her railroad ties that line her driveway were scattered all over her yard. The flooded water also made its way into her barn, ruining some of her belongings.

Roberts said this has happened before, but this time, it was worse. Normally her husband is home, but she was alone and got nervous.

Down the road, another woman dealt with high water pooling in her yard. Myra Ramey has lived in Knockemstiff for 19 years and said she has only experienced high water like this maybe once before.

She said her dog, who stays outside, got trapped on his house. Her husband tried to get to the dog, but the water was raging.

"You never get used to it, it's always frightening," Ramey said.

Both Ramey and Roberts said there's not much to do to prepare for rain like this. Roberts said she could dig holes to prevent flooding near her home, but typically, waiting for the rain to stop and hoping for the best is the best option.

Categories: Ohio News

Officials identify man found dead in west Columbus parking lot

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 14:31

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Officials have identified a man Wednesday who was found dead on April 28 in west Columbus.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says the man has been positively identified as 56-year-old Michael Kimble.

According to officials, the man was found dead in a parking lot at 3800 West Broad Street.

Yost’s office and the Franklin County Coroner’s office released a photo in an attempt to help identify Kimble. The image is based on a photograph taken after his death and was completed by a forensic artist.

“Our call for information was answered as over 100 tips were received,” Yost said. “My condolence to the family who can now fully grieve their loss.”

Categories: Ohio News

Trump vows to cure cancer and eradicate AIDS as he kicks off reelection campaign

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 12:04

As President Trump officially kicked off his 2020 campaign in Orlando Tuesday night, he made sweeping promises to tackle two of mankind's most dreaded diseases. In front of the crowd at a packed Amway Center, Trump said his administration would work to cure cancer and again vowed to eradicate AIDS if he's elected to a second term.

The president spent much of his speech attacking familiar foes and restating his position on issues like immigration. But he also said his administration will "come up with the cures" to devastating diseases.

"We will push onward with new medical frontiers," Trump said. "We will come up with the cures to many, many problems, to many, many diseases including cancer and others. And we're getting closer all the time."

The remarks came after his son, Donald Trump Jr., mocked Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden for making a similar promise to cure cancer. "Wow, why the hell didn't you do that over the last 50 years, Joe?" Trump Jr. tweeted.

Biden, whose son Beau Biden died from brain cancer in 2015, founded the Biden Cancer Initiative and told the crowd at a recent campaign event in Iowa, "I promise you, if I'm elected president, you're going to see the single most important thing that changes America — we're going to cure cancer."

In 2018, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people died from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society's latest statistics.

President Trump also called attention at his rally to the fight against HIV and AIDS. In his State of the Union address earlier this year, he vowed to eradicate AIDS by 2030 — though critics pointed out his budget proposal the previous year sought to divert money away from HIV/AIDS research to fund detention centers for undocumented immigrant children.

In its 2020 budget proposal, the Trump administration has requested $291 million for the first phase of an initiative to reduce new HIV infections in the U.S. The budget also calls for an increase in funding for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, to pay for health care services and support, and another $50 million to expand access to the anti-HIV drug regimen known as PrEP.

"We will eradicate AIDS in America once and for all — and we are really close," the president said at his Orlando rally.

Approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some observers couldn't help but wonder about the feasibility of the president's big promises, which also included a vow to send astronauts to Mars.

Trump, who has called for the creation of a military Space Force, also spoke again about sending astronauts to the Red Planet. "We will lay the foundation for landing American astronauts on the surface of Mars," he said at Tuesday night's rally.

Categories: Ohio News

Driver rescued after tractor-trailer gets stuck in high water in Marion County

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 11:35

Crews had to rescue the driver of a tractor-trailer after authorities said the vehicle got stuck in high water Wednesday.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said the tractor-trailer stalled out in the water on Gearhiser Road north of State Route 229.

Authorities said the driver was not in danger, but firefighters did require boats so they could reach the tractor-trailer.

Sheriff Tim Bailey is reminding people to turn around, don’t drown and not attempt to drive through high water.

Gearhiser Road will be closed until the water goes down and the semi is removed.

Categories: Ohio News

House votes to block Trump's military transgender ban

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 10:20

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled House voted Tuesday night to block President Donald Trump's move to restrict transgender men and women from military service.

The House passed, by a 243-183 vote, an amendment to block Trump's transgender ban from remaining in effect. The move still faces an uphill battle and a Trump veto threat against the underlying $1 trillion spending bill, which includes the military budget.

The Trump administration's policy bars people who have undergone gender transition from enlisting. It also requires military personnel to serve as their biological gender unless they began a gender transition under less restrictive Obama administration rules. The policy is being challenged in court.

"With so much anger and so much hate in the world today, it is time to be kind to people," said Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Ind.

A GOP opponent, Rep. Ken Calvert of California, said the move "risks undermining the readiness of our military at a time when we can least afford it."

But Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., said such arguments were used to justify segregation of the military.

"My service in an integrated armed forces did not harm readiness," said Brown, who is African American.

Under the Obama administration, the Pentagon announced that transgender people already serving in the military would be allowed to serve openly. Trump reversed that policy beginning in 2017 with a tweet that the government would not allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the military.

An estimated 14,700 troops on active duty and in the reserves identify as transgender, but not all seek treatment. Since July 2016, more than 1,500 service members have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria; as of Feb. 1, there were 1,071 currently serving. The Pentagon says it has spent about $8 million on transgender care since 2016. The military's annual health care budget tops $50 billion.

All four service chiefs told Congress last year that they had seen no discipline, morale or unit readiness problems with transgender troops serving openly in the military. But they also acknowledged that some commanders were spending a lot of time with transgender individuals who were working through medical requirements and other transition issues.

Categories: Ohio News

Dublin deploys unique technology to improve pavement quality on roads

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 10:14

DUBLIN, Ohio — Just about everywhere, improvements to roadways are important to the residents who drive on them regularly.

Residents in the City of Dublin may notice a different kind of tool being used on their roads this month.

The tool, provided by Resource International, is being used to test pavement condition and thickness ahead of street repairs.

An orange tip on the front of the truck shoots radars into the asphalt to determine density, while the machine in the back tests the actual strength of the pavement.

Starting in 2015, city leaders tell 10TV that the method has benefited residents in more ways than road repairs alone.

“We’re using, you know, cutting edge technology for the City of Dublin,” said Robert Taylor, an infrastructure asset management engineer for Dublin. “This is something that’s not common for municipalities to do, so we’re spending a little bit of money up front to ultimately save a lot of money down the road."

Before using this technology, Taylor said the city would physically look at the pavement and determine the best guess of what type of treatment it would need based on the number of cracks and the distresses in the asphalt.

The assessments performed by these trucks are more precise and allow city crews to determine an optimal design for the roads.

Taylor told 10TV the city is testing about 19 miles of pavement this year ahead of planned resurfacing in 2020.

Categories: Ohio News

Former Franklin Township officer sentenced to 1 year in prison for kicking suspect

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 09:41

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A former Franklin Township police officer has been sentenced to 1 year and a day in prison after a video recording showed him kicking a suspect in the head.

Robert Wells pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law in December.

The video, recorded on May 1, 2018, showed an officer holding a suspect’s hands behind him when Wells approached and kicked the suspect in the head.

Authorities said Wells deprived the suspect of his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable use of force by a law enforcement officer.

They also said Wells made false and misleading statements in his report as an attempt to cover up the use of force. Wells resigned from his position May 8.

In addition, Wells was sentenced to 3 years of probation. He has to surrender to authorities between September 1-15.

Previous Coverage

Categories: Ohio News

Trump campaign raises $24.8 million in less than 24 hours

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 09:11

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump raised $24.8 million in the less-than 24 hours after kicking off his re-election campaign.

The staggering sum was announced in a tweet on Wednesday morning by Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. It dwarfs what the top Democratic contenders in the 2020 White House primary raised over the course of the first three months of this year.

It's a demonstration of the power of incumbency, underscoring Democratic worries they are not doing enough to prepare for the matchup with Trump.

Trump already reported $48.7 million cash on hand at the end of March, spread across three committees tied to his campaign. The Republican National Committee had an additional $34.7 million during the same period.

The Democratic National Committee had just $7.5 million with $6.2 million in debt.

Categories: Ohio News

$4.5 million in settlements over deaths tied to Dr. Husel in murder case

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 06:26

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Mount Carmel Health System has reached nearly $4.5 million in settlements so far over the deaths of patients who allegedly received excessive painkiller doses ordered by a doctor now charged with murder.

At least 29 wrongful-death lawsuits have been filed against Mount Carmel and now-fired intensive care doctor William Husel, who pleaded not guilty to murder charges in 25 deaths that occurred between 2015 and 2018.

His lawyer has said Husel was providing comfort care to dying patients, not trying to kill them.

Mount Carmel has reached settlements in seven cases to date, plus two that didn't involve lawsuits.

"It is our hope that these settlements will bring some measure of closure and comfort to the families," Mount Carmel said in a statement. The hospital system has also publicly apologized for the patient deaths.

The settlements range from $200,000 to $700,000. In most cases, patients' families get two-thirds or less of the payouts from the hospital's insurers. The rest goes to their attorneys.

The families and the lawyers aren't commenting on the settlements, citing related confidentiality agreements.

The hospital system has asked a court to pause proceedings in the other lawsuits while Husel's criminal case is pending. Mount Carmel said it is working with families' attorneys in the civil cases "to resolve these matters fairly" outside of court.

Mount Carmel might have an interest in settling cases before Husel's potential criminal trial to avoid the risk that information exposed during such a trial would point to more liability by the hospital system — a scenario that would "add zeroes to the settlement checks," said Michael Benza, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Mount Carmel found that Husel ordered potentially fatal drug doses for 29 patients over the past several years. It said six more patients got doses that were excessive but did not likely cause their deaths.

Inspectors found that the doctor overrode a dispensing system to access large doses of drugs in many of the cases. Mount Carmel has since tightened its drug policies and access .

All but one of the patients were at Mount Carmel West hospital in Columbus. The exception, 70-year-old Robert Lee of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, was treated at Mount Carmel St. Ann's in suburban Columbus after suffering a heart attack in October 2017.

Lee's death was among the 25 that led to murder charges. His relatives didn't sue, but in probate court filings associated with a $675,000 settlement, they alleged that medical records show Husel ordered an excessive dose of fentanyl for Lee before having an "end of life" discussion with the family.

"Based on that, it appears that Dr. Husel made the unwarranted decision to end Mr. Lee's life before he had discussed that with the family," the filed statement said. "While family members agreed that life support would be withdrawn, they did not agree to anything that would have hastened the death of their loved one."

Mount Carmel won't comment on specific cases, except to note that the patient in the most recent lawsuit, 55-year-old Drake Mills, wasn't among the patients it found to be affected by Husel's alleged misconduct.

Mills died in June 2018, about two weeks after abdominal pain sent him to the emergency department, according to the lawsuit. It alleges he was given a lethal combination of fentanyl and other medication in conjunction with efforts to withdraw a ventilator, but doesn't specify who ordered or administered the drugs in question.

Categories: Ohio News

House panel scheduled to vote on expanding concealed carry

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 05:16

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio House committee has scheduled a vote on legislation allowing individuals to carry concealed weapons without having to receive training, undergo a background check or obtain a license.

The House Federalism Committee meets Wednesday on the bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Hood of Ashville and Rep. Thomas Brinkman Jr., of Cincinnati, both Republicans.

The measure would eliminate requirements that people carrying a concealed weapon notify law enforcement officers when stopped and says officers no longer will have grounds to search or detain an "otherwise law-abiding person" for carrying a firearm.

Gov. Mike DeWine's spokesman said the Republican governor supports law abiding people's right to carry firearms but wouldn't comment on the bill.

The FOP and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police oppose the legislation.

Categories: Ohio News

Was dead militant war casualty or Navy SEAL's murder victim?

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 04:59

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The photo shows a decorated Navy SEAL holding up the head of a dead Islamic State fighter by the hair while clenching a knife in his other hand.

It will be up to a seven-man jury of mostly combat veterans to decide if it was a snapshot in poor taste of an enemy who succumbed to battle wounds or a trophy shot of a war prisoner killed under his care.

The court martial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher began Tuesday with the defense claiming he had done nothing more than provide medical care to the militant wounded in an air strike and the prosecutor accusing the war veteran of premeditated murder.

Defense attorney Tim Parlatore told jurors in opening statements that there's no body, autopsy or forensic evidence to show a killing happened. He said the case was built on lies by junior SEALs who hated Gallagher because he was tough.

"This case is not about murder," Parlatore said. "It's about mutiny. He didn't murder or attempt to murder anyone."

The prosecutor showed a photo of Gallagher posing with the corpse along with other images of the bandaged curly haired adolescent.

Gallagher texted one photo to friends with the message: "Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife."

"He celebrated that stabbing, he celebrated that murder," the prosecutor, Lt. Brian John told jurors.

Parlatore has said the text was an attempt at dark humor.

Gallagher, whose case has drawn President Donald Trump's attention, faces seven counts that include premeditated murder and attempted murder. He's also accused of shooting two civilians — an elderly man and a school-age girl — from sniper perches in Iraq in 2017. He has pleaded not guilty and could face a life sentence.

The trial, which is expected to last up to three weeks, is exposing fractures in the secrecy that typically shrouds the elite special forces as fellow troops testify against Gallagher, who had served eight tours of duty and earned two Bronze Stars for valor.

Three SEALS were scheduled to testify Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Lt. Thomas MacNeil, who roomed with Gallagher, testified that their SEAL team provided support to Iraqi forces clearing an area outside Mosul when he heard a radio transmission on May 3, 2017, that an airstrike had wounded an Islamic State fighter.

"I heard Chief Gallagher announce, 'Lay off, he's mine,'" MacNeil said.

Gallagher initially began treating the teen militant's wounds, which was caught on video the jury will see. The question is what happened after the footage stopped.

John said the wounded prisoner was in stable condition after treatment.

After another SEAL left his side, Gallagher pulled a knife from his medical bag and repeatedly stabbed the boy in the neck, John said. Another SEAL saw the assault and said blood was pouring out of the teen.

Parlatore said the militant died of his injuries from the airstrike and noted that Iraqi forces had been with him two hours before Gallagher became the first to treat him. He also said no blood was found on the knife.

After the boy died, Gallagher had his re-enlistment ceremony conducted with the body and posed with fellow troops for photos.

MacNeil, who posed with them, testified that the photos were inappropriate because he was taught to not disgrace casualties on the battlefield.

The defense does not dispute that Gallagher posed with the corpse.

"Was the photo in poor taste? Probably," Parlatore told jurors in his opening statement. "Was the photo evidence of murder? No."

The jury is composed of five enlisted men, including a Navy SEAL and four Marines, plus a Navy commander and a Marine chief warrant officer. Most of the jurors have served in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gallagher's defense has been championed by his family and some congressional Republicans who have claimed that he's a hero getting railroaded. Trump intervened to get Gallagher removed from the brig as he awaited trial and is said to be considering a pardon for him.

Gallagher's accusers are cowards who wanted to derail his nomination for a Silver Star for valor and a promotion to teach urban warfare, Parlatore said.

After returning to San Diego from their deployment, MacNeil said he got a text to stay after work one day for a meeting in the parking lot, where Gallagher rushed at him, grabbed his face and said, "You take me down, I'll take all you down."

Categories: Ohio News

Return of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds highlights this weekend's Dayton Air Show

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 04:58

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The return of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds highlights this weekend's Dayton Air Show in Ohio.

The Army's Golden Knights demonstration team will also take part in the annual show Saturday and Sunday at Dayton International Airport.

Vectren Dayton Air Show organizers said the 2018 show drew an estimated 62,000 people, after falling to 44,000 in 2017 following cancellation of the Thunderbirds' appearance. Two Thunderbird team members were hospitalized in 2017 when an F-16D fighter jet left the runway and flipped over upon landing during preparation for the show.

Visitors to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Friday morning can meet Thunderbirds members and get autographs.

Other military planes and aerobatic pilots will be part of the show .

Categories: Ohio News

Trump EPA close to gutting Obama rule on coal power plants

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 04:21

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is close to completing one of its biggest rollbacks of environmental rules, replacing a landmark Obama-era effort that sought to wean the nation's electrical grid off coal-fired power plants and their climate-damaging pollution.

The final Trump administration replacement rule, expected as soon as this week, instead would give individual states wide discretion to decide whether to require limited efficiency upgrades at individual coal-fired power plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Administrator Andrew Wheeler would have a major policy announcement Wednesday but did not disclose the topic. Democrats, environmentalists, industry representatives and others, however, expect the final rule on coal plants.

Joseph Goffman, an EPA official under President Barack Obama, said he feared that the Trump administration was trying to set a legal precedent that the Clean Air Act gives the federal government "next to no authority to do anything" about climate-changing emissions from the country's power grid. The Obama rule, adopted in 2015, sought to reshape the country's power system by encouraging utilities to rely less on dirtier-burning coal-fired power plants and more on electricity from natural gas, solar, wind and other lower or no-carbon sources.

Burning of fossil fuels for electricity, transportation and heat is the main human source of heat-trapping carbon emissions.

Supporters of the revised rule say the Obama-era plan overstepped the EPA's authority.

"This action is recalibrating EPA so it aligns with being the agency to protect public health and the environment in a way that respects the limits of the law," said Mandy Gunasekara, a former senior official at the EPA who helped write the replacement rule. She now runs a nonprofit, Energy45, that supports President Donald Trump's energy initiatives.

"The Clean Power Plan was designed largely to put coal out of business," Gunasekara said. Trump's overhaul is meant to let states "figure out what is best for their mission in terms of meeting modern environmental standards" and providing affordable energy, she said.

Democrats and environmentalists say the Trump administration has repeatedly sought to use the power of government to protect the sagging U.S. coal industry from competition against cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas and solar and wind power while ignoring scientific warnings about climate change.

With coal miners at his side , Trump signed an order in March 2017 directing the EPA to scrap the Obama rule. It was one of the first acts of his presidency.

His pledge to roll back regulation for the coal industry helped cement support from owners and workers in the coal industry, and others. Despite his promise, market forces have frustrated Trump's efforts . Competition from cheaper natural gas and renewable fuel has continued a yearslong trend driving U.S. coal plant closings to near-record levels last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The final rule is expected to closely follow the draft released in August.

By encouraging utilities to consider spending money to upgrade aging coal plants, environmental groups argue, the Trump rule could prompt the companies to run existing coal plants harder and longer rather than retiring them.

"It's a rule to increase emissions because it's a rule to extend the life of coal plants," said Conrad Schneider, advocacy director of the Clean Air Task Force. "You invest in updating an old coal plant, it makes it more economic" to run it more to pay off that investment.

An Associated Press analysis Tuesday of federal air data showed U.S. progress on cleaning the air may be stagnating after decades of improvement. There were 15% more days with unhealthy air in America both last year and the year before than there were on average from 2013 through 2016, the four years when America had its fewest number of those days since at least 1980.

Trump has repeatedly claimed just the opposite, saying earlier this month in Ireland: "We have the cleanest air in the world, in the United States, and it's gotten better since I'm president."

Along with an initiative requiring tougher mileage standards for cars and light trucks, the Clean Power Plan was one of Obama's two legacy efforts to slow climate change. The Trump administration also is proposing to roll back the Obama-era mileage standards, with a final rule expected shortly. Environmental groups promise court challenges to both rollbacks.

Trump has rejected scientific warnings on climate change, including a report this year from scientists at more than a dozen federal agencies noting that global warming from fossil fuels "presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life."

EPA's own regulatory analysis last year estimated that Trump's replacement ACE rule would kill an extra 300 to 1,500 people each year by 2030, owing to additional air pollution from the power grid.

Categories: Ohio News

Two taken to hospital after shooting along I-70 in southeast Columbus

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 02:28

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Two people are recovering after being shot while driving along an interstate.

Columbus Police were dispatched to the area of I-70 eastbound and US Route 33 around 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday on a report of gunshots being fired.

The victims told police that someone shot at them in a vehicle near I-70 and Miller/Kelton. According to police, multiple gunshots were fired.

Medical crews transported both victims to an area hospital in stable condition.

Investigators say the victims told them they did not know the suspects.

Anyone with information about this is asked to call the Columbus Police Assault Unit at 614-645-4141 or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at 614-461-TIPS(614-461-8477).

Categories: Ohio News

Coshocton County Sheriff's Office conducting rescues due to high water

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 01:29

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ohio - The Coshocton County Sheriff's Office tells 10TV deputies are helping to evacuate apartments along Plainfield Road in West Lafayette due to high water.

The evacuations started around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday and continued into Wednesday morning.

Emergency crews are taking people who were rescued to the First Baptist Church on East Main Street.

There are no reports of injuries.

The mayor posted a statement on Facebook saying the village was in a state of emergency due to flash flooding.

State Route 93 and State Route 751 are closed in the area.

Categories: Ohio News

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