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Study: More than 15,000 suicides reported in Ohio over 10 years

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 16:04

A new study reveals an uptick in suicides across the Buckeye State and across various age groups.

The study released by the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Public Health reveals there were more than 15,000 suicide deaths reported in Ohio over 10 years, an increase of nearly 24 percent.

Researchers have also learned suicide rates are on the rise for specific ages groups. For those ages 20 to 29 suicide is up by 36 percent and 57 percent for those aged 60 or older.

The Alliance also found Appalachia Ohio makes up nine of 10 counties with the highest suicide rate per 100,000.

Tony Coder, Executive Director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation says issues of suicide and mental illness transcend race, age, and socioeconomic class.

“It’s really shocking when you look at it from the potential of life that can be had and the number of years that have been lost.”

For more information on the study click here.

Categories: Ohio News

Humane Society ranks Ohio among worst for puppy mills

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 15:48

For the seventh year in a row, the Humane Society of the United States named Ohio fourth on the list for most puppy mills. They are calling it the horrible hundred.

The list includes Fredericksburg, Fremont, Loundonville, Millersburg and Shilogh. They publish the list to warn people and to encourage government agencies to get involved.

Franklin County Dog Shelter director, Kaye Persinger, describes puppy mills as hoarding situations instead of reputable breeders. She said many of the time puppy mills breed female dogs over and over.

Dog owner, Cherene Watkins, rescued her dog Nina from a puppy mill. Fourteen years ago she brought home Nina, who was born in a puppy mill and brought to a pound.

She said Nina was not good at socializing and was very timid. Even though Nina became a wonderful addition to her family, she hates thinking Ohio has a large number of puppy mills.

"That's horrible Nina was there because of her breed and they breed her a lot," Watkins said.

Franklin County Dog Shelter Director Persinger said there are steps to follow in order to make sure the dog is taken care of well. She said these steps are important whether adopting from a puppy mill, breeder or shelter.

The shelter's advice is to ask for health certificates and when they visited the vet last. She said it is also crucial to make sure the dog has all of their vaccines.

Many of the dogs the shelter takes in that are from puppy mills have genetic problems.

"It just breaks your heart to see that they're just being used to create, you know it just breaks my heart," Persinger said.

She suggests making sure the person or place the dog is coming for is responsible. Persinger said it is best to visit the dog several times before adopting and to meet the dog's parents.

Categories: Ohio News

Faith and Fear: New funding for armed guards at Jewish houses of worship

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 15:08

Jews in America are increasingly under attack, according to a recent study.

The Anti-Defamation League says anti-Semitic attacks doubled in 2018.

In the wake of that, and deadly shootings at two U.S. synagogues, the local Jewish community is sharpening its focus on security.

That includes armed guards at houses of worship.

Congregation Beth Tikvah in Worthington has been the faith home of Liz Shafran and her family for more than a decade.

"This place means a lot to us. It's the place we come in times of celebration. It is the place we come in times of grief."

She never thought it would be a place she should feel unsafe.

But deadly attacks at synagogues in Pittsburgh last October and California last month shook everyone here.

"All the sudden you have to have conversations with your kids about if you are confronted with this, or this happens, this is what you need to do. And the hardest question to answer at all is why would I be targeted because of the beliefs that I have? And there is no right answer to that. There is no way to answer that."

Rabbi Richard Kellner says security and safety conversations are not new but have come into sharper focus.

"(We) want to make sure that they know where the exits are, want to make sure they understand what our own safety protocols are and to know that they feel safe- and that we're all looking out for one another. We're grateful for the trainings that we've had that have taught us to be prepared. Even in the last six months, those preparations have increased so that we are thinking. And we are prepared."

Those measures have included police and armed guards.

Liz remembers bringing her daughter here the day after the Pittsburgh attack.

"And I walked in with her because I needed to walk in with her. I needed to show her that there was no fear, that this was still the place it has always been, knowing that there was a police officer there, having that friendly face...that was nerve-racking and indeed very comforting though. It had to happen."

"It's really upsetting that we have to think about this," said Kellner. "One would wish that we could just live freely without having to get checked when we walk into a door, or have to have different security measures in place. but we don't live in a world like that anymore."

The non-profit group JewishColumbus this week announced a plan to cover the cost of armed guards at 16 local synagogues and Jewish centers.

It's an estimated expense of $500,000, and will include active shooter trainings.

Categories: Ohio News

Man convicted in shooting death of 2-year-old girl during robbery in southwest Columbus

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 14:12

One of the two men charged in the shooting death of a 2-year-old in southwest Columbus back in 2016 has been found guilty for her murder.

According to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, 25-year-old Jaquon Poindexter was found guilty Friday by a jury after deliberating for 28 minutes.

Jaquon Poindexter and Norman Burke

The shooting happened on October 25, 2016 after Poindexter and Norman Burke committed a robbery in the home of Julian Bice and Jessica Stanford, who were with their 2-year-old daughter Amiyah Bice.

Four people were injured in the shooting. Amiyah Bice died as a result of her injuries.

Poindexter was found guilty on one count of aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of felonious assault, one count of aggravated murder, and one count of murder.

Poindexter will be sentenced next Wednesday, May 22 and faces a potential sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Bruke is serving a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty to charges of aggravated robbery and voluntary manslaughter, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Records.

Previous Coverage

Categories: Ohio News

Health officials in Toledo investigating suspected case of measles

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 13:28

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is investigating a possible measles case at an elementary school.

According to the health department, the case involved a student at Stranahan Elementary.

Officials at the school are working with the health department to ensure proper protocols are followed.

The results of a confirmatory test are expected next week. If confirmed, this would be the first case of measles in Ohio this year.

The health department said schools in Ohio are required to ensure that children receive the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine unless exempted.

This possible case comes as the United States is nearing a 25 year high of reported cases. Last week, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 839 cases this year.

Measles was once common in the U.S. but gradually became rare after vaccination campaigns that started in the 1960s.

Categories: Ohio News

Coroner: Fentanyl likely cause of 9 overdose deaths in less than 2 days in Franklin County

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 12:34

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Franklin County Coroner's office says it has seen another surge in overdose deaths.

Nine people died from apparent overdose deaths in less than two days from 8 p.m. on May 14 to 6 p.m. on May 16.

The coroner's office is currently testing to see if these overdoses are caused by fentanyl and will have those results in a couple of weeks.

Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz tells 10TV that she is fairly confident that fentanyl is the cause of those deaths.

Dr. Ortiz says 80% of overdose deaths in 2018 were caused by fentanyl and the number for 2019 is pretty similar.

Most overdoses are happening in the west and south sides of Columbus, according to Dr. Ortiz.

The coroner's office says families or friends that might be at risk for an overdose should take the necessary steps to have Naloxone available for them.

For more information regarding naloxone, fentanyl testing strips, treatment and recovery homes please see:

  • The Franklin County Public Health along with the Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone) will also provide free naloxone with brief training. To locate these sites, click here.
  • Other distributors of naloxone can be found through the Columbus Public Health website.
  • Fentanyl testing strips
  • To find recovery homes and resources in central Ohio, click here.
Categories: Ohio News

House approves sweeping bill to expand gay rights

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 11:38

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats in the House approved sweeping anti-discrimination legislation Friday that would extend civil rights protections to LGBT people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The protections would extend to employment, housing, loan applications, education, public accommodations and other areas.

Called the Equality Act, the bill is a top priority of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said it will bring the nation "closer to equal liberty and justice for all."

Sexual orientation and gender identity "deserve full civil rights protections - in the workplace and in every place, education, housing, credit, jury service, public accommodations," Pelosi said.

The vote was 236-173, with every Democrat voting in favor, along with eight Republicans. Cheers and applause broke out on the House floor as the bill crossed the threshold for passage.

The legislation's chief sponsor, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said it affirms fairness and equality as core American values "and ensures members of the LGBTQ community can live their lives free from the fear of legal discrimination of any kind."

Cicilline, who is gay, called equal treatment under the law a founding principle of the United States, adding "It's absurd that, in 2019, members of the LGBTQ community can be fired from their jobs, denied service in a restaurant or get thrown out of their apartment because of their sexual orientation or gender identify."

Most Republicans oppose the bill and call it another example of government overreach. Several GOP lawmakers spoke against it Friday on the House floor. President Donald Trump is widely expected to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.

At a news conference Thursday, the Republicans said the bill would jeopardize religious freedom by requiring acceptance of a particular ideology about sexuality and sexual identity.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., called the legislation "grossly misnamed" and said it is "anything but equalizing."

The bill "hijacks" the 1964 Civil Rights Act to create "a brave new world of 'discrimination' based on undefined terms of sexual orientation and gender identity," Hartzler said. The legislation threatens women's sports, shelters and schools, and could silence female athletes, domestic abuse survivors and other women, she said.

A similar bill in the Senate has been co-sponsored by all but one Senate Democrat, but faces long odds in the Republican-controlled chamber.

A Trump administration official who asked not be identified, because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the president's intentions, said the White House "opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all. However, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights."

Some critics also said the bill could jeopardize Title IX, the law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded education programs. Former tennis star Martina Navratilova co-wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post urging lawmakers not to "make the unnecessary and ironic mistake of sacrificing the enormously valuable social good that is female sports in their effort to secure the rights of transgender women and girls."

Ahead of the vote, Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., called the House bill "horrifying" and said it could cause Catholic schools to lose federal grants for school lunches or require faith-based adoption agencies to place children with same-sex couples.

Neena Chaudhry, a lawyer for the National Women's Law Center, said the bill does not undermine Title IX, because courts have already found that Title IX protects against gender-identity discrimination.

"It is way past time to fully open the doors of opportunity for every American," said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., one of the Senate bill's lead sponsors. "Let's pass the Equality Act, and let us rejoice in the bells of freedom ringing for every American."

In the Senate, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also supports the bill, while Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is the sole Democrat who is not a co-sponsor.

The eight House Republicans who voted for the bill Friday were Reps. Susan Brooks of Indiana, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas, Greg Walden of Oregon and New York lawmakers John Katko, Tom Reed and Elise Stefanik.

Categories: Ohio News

John Davidson steps down as President of Hockey Operations for the Blue Jackets

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 11:36

John Davidson resigned as president of hockey operations of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday after the New York Rangers requested and received permission to talk to him for a similar position.

Davidson has been long considered the heir apparent to Glen Sather as Rangers president, a move that could become official before the day is out. He spent parts of eight seasons as a Rangers goaltender and was a TV analyst for them for almost a decade.

Columbus owner John P. McConnell said the possibility of Davidson "returning to his roots in New York, where he spent three decades as a player and broadcaster, is an extraordinary circumstance for him and his family."

Davidson has been with the Blue Jackets the past seven seasons, helping turn an NHL also-ran into a regular playoff contender. Columbus won its first playoff series in this spring.

"He helped us forge a winning culture based on preparation, hard work, accountability and honesty," Blue Jackets President Mike Priest said. "He set the tone and hired talented people that put in place a plan to build the Blue Jackets through the draft and player development with the end goal being a team that could compete and have success at the highest-level on a yearly basis."

McConnell said in 2011 that Davidson was the perfect person to lead Columbus' hockey operations department, and seven years later believes he was correct. The Blue Jackets made the playoffs in four of Davidson's seven seasons.

"He joined our team at a very difficult time and led a transformation that has resulted in consistent winning and appearances in the Stanley Cup playoffs," McConnell said. "J.D. is a man of great character and compassion and I completely understand his interest in the unique opportunity before him."

Davidson was immediately thought of as the top candidate to replace Sather when the longtime executive shifted to an advisory role. He'll likely oversee New York's hockey operations department while Jeff Gorton remains general manager.

This is the first domino to fall in an uncertain offseason for Columbus, which went all-in at the trade deadline and could have as many as four prominent players leave in free agency.

General manager Jarmo Kekalainen takes over Davidson's job as alternate governor, but it's uncertain what title he'll assume. It's possible he'll become president of hockey operations responsibilities, with Bill Zito promoted from assistant general manager.

Statement from John Davidson

“It has been my great pleasure and honor to serve as the president of hockey operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets and I offer my sincerest thanks to the ownership group led by John P. McConnell, Mike Priest and all of the great people I have had the pleasure of working with over the past seven years. I also want to thank our fans and the people of this community who have been so kind to my family and me during our time here. Columbus is truly a special place.

“I have come to love this organization and the city. There was only one opportunity that I would’ve considered leaving for, and the one before me now is that opportunity as I spent 30 years with the Rangers as a player and broadcaster and have strong ties to that team and the city of New York.

“I am extremely proud of the work we’ve done over the past seven years and know that one of the challenges before me now will be competing against this group moving forward. On behalf of my wife, Diana, and our family, I offer my sincerest thanks and gratitude to all of you for allowing us to be Blue Jackets and call Columbus home.”

Statement from Columbus Blue Jackets President Mike Priest

“The New York Rangers recently sought permission from our organization to speak with John Davidson about serving as their team president. That permission was granted and today John has resigned his position as the president of hockey operations and alternate governor with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“Personally, I want to thank J.D. for his friendship and the many contributions that he and his wife, Diana, have made to the Blue Jackets and throughout our community. He helped us forge a winning culture based on preparation, hard work, accountability and honesty. He set the tone and hired talented people that put in place a plan to build the Blue Jackets through the draft and player development with the end goal being a team that could compete and have success at the highest-level on a yearly basis.

“The winning culture that now is entrenched in all of us will continue under the direction of Jarmo Kekalainen, who will now serve as an alternate governor in addition to general manager, and the leaders within our hockey operations department. We remain committed to improving on the successes we’ve had in recent seasons with the goal of bringing a Stanley Cup championship to Columbus.”

Statement from Blue Jackets Owner/Governor John P. McConnell

“When we hired John Davidson in October 2012, I said I thought he was the perfect person to lead our hockey operations efforts. Nearly seven years later, I believe I was right. He joined our team at a very difficult time and led a transformation that has resulted in consistent winning and appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. J.D. is a man of great character and compassion and I completely understand his interest in the unique opportunity before him. I know leaving Columbus is a difficult decision for him as he has a genuine love of our community and organization, but the possibility of returning to his roots in New York, where he spent three decades as a player and broadcaster, is an extraordinary circumstance for him and his family.

“On behalf of my family, our ownership group and the entire Blue Jackets organization, I want to thank J.D. and wish him, Diana and their family nothing but the best in the years to come.”

Categories: Ohio News

An emotional send-off for lovable geeks of 'Big Bang Theory'

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 09:24

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "The Big Bang Theory" closed out its run as television's top-rated comedy with an emotional final episode that saw some big changes for the show's group of geeky misfits.

The long-running series on CBS concluded with two final episodes, "The Change Constant" and "The Stockholm Syndrome," in an hour-long finale Thursday evening. The series exited the airwaves with the most episodes for a multi-camera series ever with 279 episodes. It edged past NBC's "Cheers," which aired for 12 seasons and 275 episodes.

Thursday's finale was followed by a behind-the-scenes look at the show in "Unraveling the Mystery: A Big Bang Farewell" with Johnny Galecki, who played Leonard, and Kaley Cuoco, who played Penny, as hosts.

During the finale, the show's friends took one last trip together to support married couple Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) after they won the Nobel Prize in physics. The couple waited anxiously by the phone while friends prank called them before receiving the actual decision.

The final episodes were filled with a few surprises including news of Penny's pregnancy, a surprise cameo from Sarah Michelle Gellar and the elevator finally being fixed after it had been broken for much of the series.

It included a scene in which Bialik, who is a neuroscientist in real life, urges young girls to pursue careers in science during her Nobel acceptance speech. "Little girls who dream about science" should ignore naysayers, she said.

The often self-absorbed Sheldon followed with his own heartfelt speech about the importance of friendship in the series' emotional conclusion.

"The Big Bang Theory" debuted in 2007 and overcame early doubts to become a cult classic after some questioned the show's chances of survival. With its live audience and use of multiple cameras, the series is a throwback to comedies from the early days of television, but its formula proved popular.

The show was led by a crew of nerdy misfits starring Parsons, Cuoco, Galecki, Bialik, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar and Melissa Rauch.

It won 10 Emmy Awards, including four for Parsons.

The comedy leaves on a high as one of television's most popular shows. Last week's episode was the most-watched program on broadcast or cable TV with 12.5 million viewers, beating out HBO's "Game of Thrones," which ends its series on Sunday after an eight-year run.

Parsons has said the end of the series feels like a "real rite of passage moment," which was full of memories and some tears. Galecki said the show has touched "so many hearts."

Categories: Ohio News

Report finds Ohio State doc abused 177 students, officials were aware

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 07:57

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A now-dead Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students from the 1970s through the 1990s, and numerous university officials got wind of what was going on over the years but did little or nothing to stop him, according to a report released by the school Friday.

Dr. Richard Strauss groped or ogled young men while treating athletes from at least 16 sports and working at the student health center and his off-campus clinic, investigators from a law firm hired by the university found.

Dr. Richard Strauss (Photo: WBNS-TV)

"We are so sorry that this happened," Ohio State President Michael Drake said at a news conference, using words like "shocking," ''horrifying" and "heartbreaking" to describe the findings.

He said there was a "consistent institutional failure" at Ohio State, the nation's third-largest university, with nearly 65,000 students and a half-million living alumni. The school "fell short of its responsibility to its students, and that's regrettable and inexcusable."

At the same time, Drake, who has led the institution since 2014, sought to distance Ohio State from what happened more than two decades ago: "This is not the university of today."

The report on Strauss, who killed himself at age 67 in 2005 nearly a decade after he was allowed to retire with honors, could cost Ohio State dearly by corroborating lawsuits brought against it by a multitude of victims.

The findings put Strauss in a league with gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of Michigan State University, who was accused of molesting at least 250 women and girls and is serving what amounts to a life sentence. Michigan State ultimately settled with his victims for $500 million.

Similarly, the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal that brought down legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in 2011 has cost the university more than a quarter-billion dollars in settlements, fines, legal costs and other expenses.

The abuse at Ohio State went on from 1979 to 1997 and took place at various locations across campus, including examining rooms, locker rooms, showers and saunas, according to investigators. Strauss, among other things, contrived to get young men to strip naked and groped them sexually.

The report describes one patient who came in with strep throat. Strauss spent five minutes fondling his genitals and never examined another part of the body. Another victim had grown up in a rural area and had never had a proper medical exam; Strass put a stethoscope on his penis.

Many told investigators that they thought his behavior was an "open secret" and that they believed their coaches, trainers and other team doctors knew was going on. The students described the examinations as being "hazed" or going through a "rite of passage." Athletes joked about Strauss' behavior, referring to him with nicknames like "Dr. Jelly Paws."

The report concluded that scores of Ohio State personnel knew of complaints and concerns about Strauss' conduct as early as 1979 but failed for years to investigate or take meaningful action.

Ohio State Provost Bruce McPheron said the report does not address whether anyone went to law enforcement at the time or was required to do so under the law back then.

In the wake of the findings, some of Strauss' victims called on the university to take responsibility for its inaction and the harm inflicted by the doctor.

"Dreams were broken, relationships with loved ones were damaged, and the harm now carries over to our children, as many of us have become so overprotective that it strains the relationship with our kids," Kent Kilgore said in a statement.

Steve Estey, an attorney for some of the former students who are suing, said: "If OSU refuses to take responsibility we will continue with civil litigation and put this in front of a jury for 12 people to judge their actions."

No one has publicly defended Strauss, though family members have said they were shocked by the allegations.

At least 50 members of the athletic department staff, including many coaches, corroborated victims' accounts of Strauss' abuse, the report said. But students' allegations never left the department or the health center until 1996.

At that point, Strauss was investigated and let go as a team doctor and physician at the health center but was allowed to retain his tenured faculty position.

Investigators said Strauss set up an off-campus clinic within months, receiving assurances from the associate vice president of health sciences and academic affairs that "there would be no issue" with him engaging in part-time private practice while on the faculty. The abuse continued there.

He continued to plead for his job back as an on-campus doctor, finally going to then-President Gordon Gee with a letter in 1997. His pleas were rejected, at which point Strauss was allowed to retire with emeritus status, a mark of honor. Gee, now president of West Virginia University, said Friday he has no recollection of Strauss.

Former nursing student Brian Garrett said he briefly did administrative work at the off-campus clinic but stopped after witnessing abuse by Strauss and then experiencing it himself.

"I thought all along he hid that from the university," Garrett said. "Now I find out they actually knew about the off-campus clinic, are you kidding me?" He added: "I'm mad. I thought I was mad before."

The lawsuits against Ohio State are headed for mediation. They seek unspecified damages. Drake said the investigation alone has cost the school $6.2 million.

Separately, the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights is examining whether Ohio State responded promptly and fairly to students' complaints. The department could cut the university's federal funding if it is found to have violated civil rights protections.

Before Friday's release, the doctor's accusers had alleged that Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan was one of the coaches back then who were aware of suspicions about Strauss and didn't stop him. Jordan, an assistant wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995, was not mentioned by name in the report, and a spokesman said the document showed the congressman did not know about the abuse.

Categories: Ohio News

Ex-WWE superstar Ashley Massaro dies at age 39

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 06:08

Ashley Massaro, a former WWE wrestler and reality TV contestant, has died, the WWE said Thursday. She was 39. The cause of death is not yet known.

According to Entertainment Tonight, Massaro won WWE's "2005 Raw Riva Search" and later a high-profile match against Melina at Wrestlemania 23 in 2007. She appeared in 2007 on "Survivor: China," but was eliminated in the second episode.

The WWE said in a statement that Massaro performed in WWE from 2005-2008 and was "beloved by her fellow Superstars and fans around the world."

Massaro was one of 60 former professional wrestlers who joined together in lawsuit against WWE alleging the organization failed to protect them from repeated head trauma including concussions that led to long-term brain damage, according to NBC News. The lawsuit was dismissed last year by a federal judge who called the lawsuit's claims "frivolous" or said they had occurred outside of the statue of limitations. WWE denied the allegations in the lawsuit.

Categories: Ohio News

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Columbus to headline Ohio Democrats' fundraiser

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 05:32

COLUMBUS (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be the featured speaker at the annual fundraising dinner for Ohio Democrats.

The California Democrat is scheduled to speak at the state Democratic Party's "legacy dinner" at the Greater Columbus Convention Center Friday. Tickets started at $250.

Pelosi's appearance comes as 2020 presidential campaigning has already begun in the politically divided state. That's included recent stops by Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris.

Republican President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made Ohio visits last month to tout Trump administration policies.

State Democratic Chairman David Pepper says as Democrats gear up for 2020, Pelosi has shown what it means to stand up to this president.

Trump decisively carried Ohio in 2016, after Democrat Barack Obama won Ohio twice.

Categories: Ohio News

Gov. DeWine: new lethal injection policy coming in 'weeks'

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 05:24

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says he expects Ohio to present a federal judge with a proposed new lethal injection system within several weeks.

The Republican governor says the system will be different than the previous protocol. But he wouldn't say whether it would contain the sedative midazolam, which has been used in several problematic executions.

DeWine said Thursday he anticipates court challenges as soon as the new process is announced.

The governor ordered the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in January to look at alternative lethal injection drugs. The announcement followed a federal judge's ruling that said Ohio's current execution protocol could cause inmates "severe pain and needless suffering."

The governor postponed four executions to allow the development of the new system.

Categories: Ohio News

Grumpy Cat, who entertained millions online, dies at age 7

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 04:35

MORRISTOWN, Ariz. (AP) — Grumpy Cat, whose sourpuss expression entertained millions on the internet and spawned hundreds of memes, national television commercials and even a movie, died at age 7.

Her owners posted on social media that she experienced complications from a urinary tract infection. "She passed away peacefully on the morning of Tuesday, May 14, at home in the arms of her mommy, Tabatha," they wrote.

"Grumpy Cat has helped millions of people smile all around the world — even when times were tough," her owners said.

The cat's real name was Tardar Sauce and the owners were never sure what her breed was. Her website said her grumpy look was likely because she had a form of feline dwarfism. They said despite her face, she is cuddly and loved to be held and rubbed.

She rose to fame after her photos were posted on Reddit in 2012. Her owners said it was suggested the photo was a fake, so they posted a few videos to prove otherwise.

Since then, Grumpy Cat made appearances on "Good Morning America," ''CBS Evening News," even "American Idol" and "The Bachelorette." She's done television commercials for Honey Nut Cheerios and took photos with hundreds of fans at South by Southwest.

In 2014, Lifetime produced a movie called "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever." She was voiced by "Parks and Recreation" star Aubrey Plaza.

Owner Tabatha Bundesen founded Grumpy Cat Ltd. and created a website that included an online shop featuring 884 items, including T-shirts and mugs with the cat's picture.

The feline's net worth was never disclosed but in 2013, her owners say it was six figures. Last year, online speculation estimated her to be worth in the millions.

Grumpy Cat had more than 8 million followers on Facebook, 2.5 million on Instagram and more than 1.5 million on Twitter.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus and Whitehall police raid suspected drug houses

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 18:36

Donna Fairfax watched in disbelief as the investigative tactical team, or In/Tac, rushed into the house across the street in her North Linden neighborhood.

“I was just totally shocked. You don't know your neighbors. Just a total shock,” Fairfax said.

The In/Tac team is one of the busiest in the country in serving search warrants. They were looking for drugs and usually find money and weapons.

Thursday as they hit up one home in North Linden and another on South James Road, they seized 58 grams of cocaine, a gun and $7,500 cash.

“On east 12th, you're always going to have people rounding the block, people looking like zombies, walking up and down the street buying drugs. There's always going to be the central location of crime in the neighborhood,” said a Sergeant with the Columbus Police In/Tac unit.

The unit works with agencies across the area. Thursday, they were working with Whitehall police.

“We get 600 missions a year. We probably execute over 300 search warrants a year,” the Sergeant said.

He says typically neighbors like Fairfax are happy to see them try to clean up the neighborhood.

“Every place we go to, believe it or not, people are always applauding us and looking out their doors, giving us the thumbs up sign. That's kind of nice,” he said.

“I appreciate it, keep up the good work!” Fairfax said.

Categories: Ohio News

F-16 fighter crashes into California warehouse, pilot ejects

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 17:54

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A pilot ejected moments before an F-16 fighter jet crashed Thursday into a warehouse just outside March Air Reserve Base in California, military officials said.

The pilot was not hurt, and there were no immediate reports of injuries on the ground, said Maj. Perry Covington, director of public affairs at the base. The cause of the crash was under investigation.

Interstate 215, which runs between the base and the warehouse, was closed in both directions, backing up rush-hour traffic for miles.

Television news showed a large hole in the roof and sprinklers on inside the building about 65 miles (105 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

Cellphone photos and video from inside showed what appeared to be the tail of the plane buried in twisted metal and piles of cardboard boxes.

Daniel Gallegos, a warehouse worker, said he's used to hearing the sound of planes coming and going, but the noise just before the crash was deafening.

"Next thing I know I just hear this explosion and turn around to the back of the building, and I just seen a burst of flames and just the ceiling started falling through every part of the building," he told KABC-TV . "I turned around, and my co-worker just told me to get, so I just made a run for it."

Gallegos said he believed one of his co-workers was struck by something — possibly a falling fire sprinkler — but wasn't seriously hurt.

The crash happened as the pilot was landing following a routine training mission, March Air Reserve Base Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Holliday said.

"The pilot was having hydraulic problems," Holliday said. "He started losing control of the aircraft."

The jet's cockpit canopy was on a runway, and a parachute had settled in a nearby field.

Damage to the warehouse was relatively minor, and there was no major fire, which Holliday called "a miracle."

The pilot, the only person on board, was taken to a hospital for examination, officials said.

The F-16, assigned to the Air National Guard, was carrying standard armaments, Holliday said. It will be recovered once authorities make sure the weapons don't pose a risk, he said.

The base is home to the Air Force Reserve Command's Fourth Air Force Headquarters and various units of the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, California Air National Guard and California Army National Guard.

Categories: Ohio News

10 Investigates finds millions of dollars in ‘overpayments’ given to daycares across Ohio

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 16:28

COLUMBUS (WBNS) – Daycares across Ohio have drained millions of dollars from the state through overbilling for children they did not care for or somehow miscalculating attendance – a months-long investigation by 10 Investigates has uncovered.

The overpayments to these daycares knew no geographic boundaries – totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars at childcare facilities in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and even Toledo – where one daycare there is suspected of overbilling the state by $610,000 for children it did not care for.

The state did not dispute that these overpayments given to daycares were at best accounting errors - or at worst - represented suspected fraud or theft on the part of the providers.

Rarely are these cases prosecuted, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which oversees and licenses daycares across the state.

Instead, the state has relied on the state attorney general’s office to claw back the money.

Once a provider is determined to have been overpaid by ODJFS, the agency sends out a letter asking for the money to be repaid. After 45 days, it’s sent to the state attorney general’s office, where collection attempts are made.

Currently, the state is trying to claw back roughly $5.5 million in “overpayments” given to daycares across the state.

The results have been mixed. Some daycare providers end up on monthly payment plans. Other times the money is not recovered.

A source says the state isn’t doing enough to investigate or go after those suspected of fraud.

“The state is losing out on millions of dollars, and taxpayers end up fronting the bill,” said one source who works for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The source requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

The source says his own department isn’t doing enough to weed out or thoroughly investigated suspected fraudulent billings.

“These people are committing fraud, simple as that…” the source said.

10 Investigates spent months requesting and reviewing hundreds of pages of fraud referral sheets, attendance records, collection records and other correspondence sent to daycares from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services – the agency that licenses and oversees childcare facilities.

What we found – the additional monies given to daycares often occurred at childcare facilities that accepted Title 20 subsidies that help cover the cost of children of low-income parents who can’t afford to pay for daycare.

In most cases, the daycares accused of suspected fraudulent billings to the state would either miscalculate attendance, fail to consistently track it or would “over swipe” the credit cards used by daycares to track attendance.

Daycares that accept the vouchers are paid by “swiping” the children in as attending. In several cases, the daycares are accused of “over swiping” and received funds for children that the daycares did not care for.

Under the state’s previous system, records show that the cards – which were supposed to remain with the parents – would often end up with the providers.

“When the child is not there, the daycare is still swiping these cards,” the source said. “Because they get the cards from the parents.”

When asked if the daycare gets paid after swiping the cards, the source said: “Correct.”

In December, the state quietly did away with its credit card-style system and moved to a more secure cloud-based tablet system that requires a passcode and takes the picture of whomever is signing in their child.

While the new system is meant to prevent and detect suspected fraud easier, the state is still having mixed results in trying to claw back the money overpaid to many daycares.

10 investigates found one daycare facility in Columbus, Safe Childcare of Columbus, has been accused of overbilling the state by $117,000 over an eight-week period.

After calling and stopping by three times since January, a man who identified himself as a manager denied that it was an issue.

He agreed to show us the documents provided to the state and invited a 10 Investigates crew inside.

After spending nearly an hour at this daycare, the man could not provide 10 Investigates with any documents showing that his facility was not overpaid by the state. The daycare’s owner and his attorney also declined to be interviewed by 10 Investigates.

At another daycare facility, Westerville Childcare Center, 10 Investigates found records alleging that this daycare had been overpaid by the state by $113,000.

A copy of a 2017 fraud referral sheet sent to the state and obtained by 10 Investigates through an open records request alleges: "all children were signed out on the attendance sheet; there were 160 of 170 swipes between 9:58 and 10:14 pm. The total enrollment base on the attendance records is 115…"

In a letter back to the state, the owner of Westerville Childcare "refuted the claim of overbilling."

He could not be reached and his attorney declined to comment to 10 Investigates.

After calling and stopping by several times and making repeated attempts to reach the owner, 10 Investigates spoke with the administrator, Halima Omar.

Omar says she had not seen the letter sent from the state asking for repayment of $113,000.

10 Investigates did supply a copy to another employee about a week before our brief interview with Omar.

Omar denied that suspected fraud had occurred.

“No fraud. I don't know. Nobody came to me and said there's fraud going on here. To me, I don't think a daycare would be working. No, I don't think so.”

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services declined 10 Investigates’ repeated request to interview its director.

Instead, ODJFS released this statement:

“Traditionally, overpayments have been handled as civil collections for two reasons:

  1. Civil collections are difficult to prosecute criminally and were frequently declined by county prosecuting attorneys.
  2. As good stewards of taxpayer dollars, we have continuously made good faith efforts to collect on past due civil payments through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office as required by state law.

As Director Hall has been taking a look at all aspect of JFS operations, our legal division will be reviewing agency standards for when we make referrals for criminal prosecutions, and we expect to make more frequent referrals.”

The state attorney general’s office also declined to be interviewed but provided updates on the efforts to claw back the money.

As for Westerville Childcare Center, a special counsel said it received a letter from the owner’s attorney requesting a monthly payment plan.

Calls were placed last week on behalf of the state attorney general’s office to both the owner of Westerville Childcare and his attorney, but the voicemails were full and could not accept messages.

At Safe Child Care Center of Columbus, one of the other Columbus daycares visited by 10 Investigates, a letter was mailed this month but the state attorney general’s office is awaiting a response.

These letters and calls were placed to these daycares only after 10 Investigates began asking questions.

Of the 11 highest overpayment cases reviewed by 10 Investigates across the state, none has been fully recovered by the state.

Categories: Ohio News

Columbus Arts and Technology Academy teacher arrested on child pornography charge

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 15:21

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A high school teacher at the Columbus Arts and Technology Academy has been suspended from his employment after he was arrested on May 13.

According to the school, Lyle Pierce was arrested in the school parking lot.

According to court records, a cell phone was seized from Pierce on April 24. Detectives said they discovered videos showing “obscenity involving a minor” on the phone.

The school said it is awaiting the results of the law enforcement investigation and will continue to act in accordance with the law.

Pierce is facing a second-degree felony charge of pandering obscenity involving a minor.

The school said the charge does not involve the school or its stakeholders.

Pierce was arraigned on May 14 and released on his own recognizance. His next hearing is scheduled for later this month.

Categories: Ohio News

Facing nurse shortage, Adena Hospitals offering $5,000 sign-on bonus

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 15:12

A national shortage of nurses is hitting central Ohio.

As the baby boomer population ages, the need for nurses is growing. And that could mean big bucks for some caretakers.

Emily Reynolds has been a nurse for seven years. The hours are long, the work is draining. And she says there's no other job for her.

"When you go home, and you've gotten to discharge that patient that had a critical incident that they were here for a month, and they hug your neck when you leave- there's nothing like it," she said.

The ability to help someone at their sickest is something she struggles to put into words.

"It pulls on your heartstrings...yeah definitely," she said, holding back tears "It's something that..that unless you've experienced it, you can't explain."

But like hospitals around the country, Adena Medical Center in Chillicothe is facing a shortage of nurses.

"Adena is experiencing a lot of growth. So supplying the caregivers to take care of those patients is the challenge we're facing right now," said Adena Health System Associate Chief Nursing Officer Molly Grooms.

She said the need is immediate and has required some creative solutions, including offering Registered Nurses a $5000 sign-on bonus.

"This is for those with one year experience. We really want those experienced people that can bring new ideas, new expertise," Grooms said.

She says Adena isn't at a crisis point- and this incentive is aimed at preventing that from happening.

Emily says she hasn't once regretted the path she's taken. She hopes others will answer the call.

"It's about safe patient ratios, it's about providing the care that you know your patients deserve. And at points, it's hard to provide that if there's not enough of us."

Those eligible for the bonus are nurses who commit to joining Adena between May 13-31, 2019, and meet the following criteria:

  • Licensed RN with at least one year acute care experience
  • Be hired for 0.6 full-time employment or greater
  • Have not worked for Adena Health System within the past six months

Adena is hosting two nursing socials including open interviews for potential candidates. The nursing socials will be held at Adena locations in Circleville and Chillicothe.

  • Tuesday, May 21, 5-7 p.m. at Adena Health Center – Circleville 140 Morris Rd Circleville, OH 43113​
  • Wednesday, May 22, 5-7 p.m. at Adena Regional Medical Center/PACCAR Medical Education Center 446 Hospital Rd Chillicothe, OH 45601

Categories: Ohio News

BrewDog bringing back craft beer airline with round-trip from Columbus to Scotland

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 14:42

After the success of their first flight, BrewDog has announced they are adding a trip for US fans to Scotland.

The inaugural flight of BrewDog Airlines took more than 200 investors from the U.K. over to Columbus to visit their U.S. headquarters and their hotel.

BrewDog said this fall, U.S. investors get their chance as they will be adding a round-trip from Columbus to Edinburgh, the home of BrewDog in addition to another trip for U.K. fans.

Tickets for BrewDog Airlines are exclusively available for their investors known as Equity Punks.

The next flights are scheduled for October 31 out of both countries.

For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Categories: Ohio News