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Ohio Archives for 2016-04

Vigil Planned for 8 Family Members Killed in Ohio Massacre


PIKETON, Ohio (AP) — A vigil is planned for the eight family members killed in a shooting massacre in rural Ohio.

The Pray for Pike County vigil at the Pike County Fairgrounds is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.


Ohio Piketon


The Rhoden family members were found shot to death April 22 at four homes in the rural county about 85 miles south of Columbus.


Investigators remain tight-lipped about any suspects or a possible motive.


The funeral for victim Gary Rhoden was held Thursday in Kentucky.


The funeral for 20-year-old Hannah Gilley is scheduled for Saturday in Otway, Ohio. She was the fiancee of victim Clarence "Frankie" Rhoden.


A funeral for Frankie Rhoden, his parents and two siblings will be held Tuesday in West Portsmouth.



Murder Charge for Mom After 1 of 2 Boys Beaten at Ohio Motel Dies


MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — The mother of two boys found badly beaten at an Ohio motel has been charged with murder now that one of them has died.




The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports police say the 5-year-old was bound for 22 hours in a wooded area and struck on his head and body.


Police say officers responding to a 911 call Wednesday found the boy and his 6-year-old brother. Both were hospitalized.


Charges against 26-year-old Theresa Hawkins-Stephens and another woman were upgraded Friday in Middletown after the 5-year-old's death. The women are charged with murder, felonious assault and endangering children. Bond is $1 million.

A third woman is charged with assault and endangerment.


The office of Hawkins-Stephens' attorney says the lawyer is in court all day and unavailable to take a call for comment.



Arlington Man Pleads Not Guilty in Toddler's Death


FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — An Arlington Ohio man has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old son.




Twenty-eight-year-old Brent Houdeshell entered the plea Wednesday in a Findlay courtroom.


His public defender declined to comment Thursday.

The Courier newspaper reports an autopsy showed the toddler, Breydon Farrell, died of a brain injury caused by blunt force trauma. He also had a broken leg and bruises on his face, arms, legs, back and feet.


Rescue crews found Breydon unresponsive at a Findlay apartment March 31. Police were told Breydon fell out of his crib.


Houdeshell also faces child endangering and records-tampering charges. He's being held on a $500,000 bond.

He was on medical furlough from a one-year jail sentence for drunken driving when Breydon died.




Ohio Massacre: 1 Family, 8 Dead, Hundreds of Tips, 0 Answers


PIKETON, Ohio (AP) — Nearly a week after eight family members were found shot to death at four homes in rural Ohio, investigators have announced no arrests, no motive and few details beyond saying it was a meticulously planned "execution."




But the discovery of marijuana-growing operations at some of the crime scenes has given the case a new, more sinister cast.

Relatives of the victims say they were surprised by the marijuana. Some neighbors say they had heard rumors. And some say the pot-growing was a case of courting trouble.


Large marijuana operations are common in Ohio's Pike County, the scene of the killings, and there have been some big seizures of pot plants there.


About one-fifth of Pike County's 28,000 people live in poverty, and the area has some of Ohio's high rates of unemployment and drug-overdose deaths.



Ex-Chicago Area Officer Charged in Ohio with Wife's Death


ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. (AP) — A suburban Cincinnati man charged with murder in his wife's shooting death is a former suburban Chicago police officer.




Elk Grove Village Police Chief Stephen Schmidt says 57-year-old Jeffrey Hawkins resigned in 1999 when the department started investigating a complaint that he used unnecessary force during an arrest.


Hawkins surrendered to officers at his home Monday after calling 911 and telling the dispatcher he just killed his wife. An Ohio judge set bond at $3 million Tuesday pending grand jury action next week.


Hawkins was with Elk Grove Village police from 1990 to 1999. A spokeswoman for Chicago's Field Museum says he worked as a security officer there from 1999 to 2003.


The village issued a statement saying that the department hasn't had contact with Hawkins since he resigned.




Ohio Ex-officer Will Plead Guilty for False Searches, Stolen Cash


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A longtime Ohio policeman accused of conspiring with another officer to falsely obtain search warrants and keep some of the cash seized in drug investigations will plead guilty to federal charges.




Prosecutors say the Reynoldsburg officers conspired to violate people's rights against unreasonable searches and stole up to $250,000 in seized money and property since 2006.


Forty-one-year-old Shane Mauger, of Columbus, agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to deprive people of civil rights and federal program theft.


His attorney, Mark Collins, says Mauger is "embarrassed and disgraced for tarnishing the badge." He says Mauger gave authorities information and is hopeful for leniency at sentencing.


The Columbus Dispatch reports Reynoldsburg's police chief says Mauger resigned Friday.


His alleged co-conspirator was arrested on drug charges and hanged himself in jail in February.





2 Ohio Teens Who Bullied Developmentally Disabled Boy Disciplined

SYLVANIA, Ohio (AP) - Two teenagers accused of assaulting and bullying a developmentally disabled classmate at a northwest Ohio school will have to apologize and serve 25 hours of community service to help people with special needs. 
Ohio Courtroom
 Police in Sylvania, near Toledo, alleged the 14-year-old boys had the classmate lick candy after secretly wiping it in a bathroom urinal, then revealed what they'd done and punched and teased him. The Feb. 18 encounter was captured on surveillance video. 
They were sentenced Monday in juvenile court for violating the Safe School Act.  
The Blade newspaper reports an attorney for one of the defendants suggested it's a case of "kids will be kids." 
The judge didn't buy that and told that defendant he didn't seem remorseful.
The boys haven't been allowed back at school.


UPDATE: Last Autopsy Being Completed in Slayings of 8


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Attorney General's Office says the last autopsy of eight slain family members is being completed.




A spokeswoman for Attorney General Mike DeWine says the autopsy is being done Monday on the victim from Pike County in southern Ohio.


Authorities are scrambling to determine who killed the eight last week in slayings that have shaken residents of their rural southern Ohio community.


Investigators say they found marijuana operations at three of the crime scenes but didn't say if the deaths were linked to pot.


Marijuana seizures are common in Pike County, where authorities said a 2012 seizure could be connected to a Mexican drug cartel.



Officials: Crashes Increased With Speed Limits on Ohio Roads


HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Highway Patrol says as speed limits on the state's rural interstate highways have increased, so have crashes.


Ohio Speed Limit


The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports the state patrol says there's been a 21 percent increase in crashes on interstate highways where the speed limit has been raised to 70 miles per hour since 2013.


Highway patrol troopers have investigated nearly 334,000 crashes on all roads, state routes and interstate highways from 2011 through 2015.


A state analysis shows that crashes jumped by 19 percent— from about 8,600 in the two years before the increase to about 10,200 in the two years after.


The patrol says that during that same time, fatalities decreased slightly from 48 to 43.




Board OKs Keeping Ohio Statehouse Open Fewer Hours

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A board in charge of oversight of the Ohio Statehouse and grounds has voted to cut weekly hours at the building.
Ohio Statehouse
The Columbus Dispatch reports  the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board agreed Thursday to cut hours at the Statehouse by 10 hours per week.
The new hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday instead of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Weekend hours - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. - will remain the same.
Officials say the change is aimed at reducing costs, particularly related to security.
The board also voted to change a 2009 rule and allow only the House speaker and Senate president to approve applications to appear at the Statehouse and waive fees, instead of the four top-ranking legislative leaders.



The Latest: 8 Deaths in Ohio - Whereabouts of Shooter/s Unknown

PIKETON, Ohio (AP) - The Latest on shootings in rural southern Ohio (all times local):
5:45 p.m.
     Authorities are urging the public to call with any information about the slayings of eight people in southern Ohio.
     Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said Friday that they are in the early stages of their investigations covering four crime scenes.
     They say eight members of the same family were shot in the head. The whereabouts of the shooter or shooters aren't clear, and authorities are warning relatives and residents to take precautions.
     Authorities say there are no indications that any of the victims had died by suicide. The victims were identified as members of the Rhoden family.
Anyone with information should call BCI at 1-855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446) or the Pike County Sheriff's Office at 740-947-2111
     4:30 p.m.
Ohio authorities say seven adults and one teenage member of the same family have been slain in southern Ohio.
Attorney General Mike DeWine says there are no indications that any of the eight killed themselves, indicating that the killer or killers are still on the loose. Pike County's sheriff warns residents to take precautions and says they should consider the shooter or shooters "armed and dangerous."
Authorities say three small children survived, including a days-old infant whose mother was killed.
Crime Scene Ohio
     3:35 p.m.
Attorney General Mike DeWine has scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m. to provide updated information on eight deaths in rural southern Ohio.
His office reported earlier Friday that seven people were shot to death in three homes along a rural road west of the village of Piketon. They included two children.
His office later confirmed that an eighth body had been found in a fourth location. There was no immediate information released on the eighth person.
The news conference will be held at the Piketon government center. The village of some 2,100 people is about 70 miles south of Columbus.
     2:35 p.m.
An eighth body has been found in a fourth location in southern Ohio.
Bureau of Criminal Investigation spokeswoman Jill Del Greco says she doesn't have any other information yet, but Attorney General Mike DeWine plans to provide an update in Pike County later Friday afternoon.
Authorities said earlier that at least seven people, including two children, were slain in what they described as "execution-style killings" in three homes along a rural Ohio road.
No arrests have been announced, and it's unclear if the killer or killers are among the dead.
The bodies were discovered earlier Friday.
     1:45 p.m.
 Authorities say at least seven people are dead in what they're calling "execution-style killings" in three homes along a rural Ohio road.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said Friday that all the victims are believed to be members of the same family. They say the victims are believed to be five adults and two kids. All were shot to death. 
They say there is not an active shooter and no arrests have been made. Authorities are trying to determine a motive, identify the deceased and determine if the killer or killers are among the deceased individuals or on the loose.
Pike County is in a predominantly rural Appalachian Mountain region some 80 miles east of Cincinnati.
     11:55 a.m.
Authorities say there are multiple crime scenes along the same road in rural Ohio where fatalities from a shooting have been reported.
Bureau of Criminal Investigation spokeswoman Jill Del Greco confirmed Friday morning that the shootings had happened in more than one location in Pike County. The attorney general's office requested state help at 8:20 a.m.
So far, there is no official confirmation on how many fatalities there are and on whether a suspect or suspects were in custody.
 Pike County is in a predominantly rural Appalachian Mountain region some 80 miles east of Cincinnati.
     11:25 a.m.
Authorities say there have been shootings involving multiple fatalities in rural Ohio.
The attorney general's office says a dozen Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents have been called to Pike County. Spokesman Dan Tierney says the Pike County sheriff's office requested state help at 8:20 a.m. Friday.
Tierney had no information on whether a suspect was in custody. He also had no confirmation on the number of fatalities.
Multiple news outlets are reporting there is more than one crime scene. TV reports from the scene say a staging area has been set up with ambulances and fire personnel.
Pike County is in a predominantly rural Appalachian Mountain region some 80 miles east of Cincinnati.
Several news outlets reported that the shooting was in or near a residence.


At Least 8 Dead in Ohio Shooting in 4 Separate Locations


This Story Has Been Updated with Latest News Conference Coverage. Click Here: http://wktn.com/ohio/250633


PEEBLES, Ohio -- At least eight people, including two juveniles, were found dead in Pike County in what the Ohio attorney general called multiple "execution style" shootings.

Ohio Shooting

The shootings occurred at four separate locations on or near Union Hill Road in Pike County just northeast of Peebles, Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Telling Cunningham that the shooter or shooters "may still be on the loose," DeWine said, “Any remaining (family) members, I would be cautious.” DeWine stopped short of calling it an "active shooter" situation.

"We've never had anything like this," DeWine said.

DeWine also told Cunningham that some "very young" children were also found alive at one of the crime scenes and quickly removed by investigators.

The scenes include houses and trailer homes separated by about a mile.

Local pastor Phil Fulton said it was “very out of character for our community, but with the ways of the world, the way things are going, I guess maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. But we are. This is so tragic.”

Even though it's about eight miles from the scene, Peebles High School was put on "lockout" as a precautionary measure. This status meant that nobody is going in or out for about an hour, but school was still in session.

The Pike County sheriff's office requested state help at 8:20 a.m. Friday, according to spokesman Dan Tierney of the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

“The mail carrier told me there’s something seriously bad going on up the road," nearby resident Goldie Holderbran told WCPO. "I’m on the other side of 32 on Union Hill Road. I’m not very far."

Union Hill Road is just off of SR-32 about 75 miles east of Cincinnati. The road parallels much of the border between Adams and Pike counties.

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation, crime scene search unit, and cyber-crimes unit all have crews on the scenes.

DeWine said he will update the media at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.



Sears to Close 78 Stores This Summer Including 7 in Ohio

NEW YORK (AP) — Sears Holdings Corp. will close another 78 stores —68 Kmart units, and 10 Sears stores — as it looks to restore profitability.

Sears and Kmart

That accounts for about 5 percent of its store base, which is nearly 1,700 stores.

Ohio Stores Closing:

Sears / 1377 Marion Waldo Rd., Marion
Super K / 3315 N Ridge E., Ashtabula
Kmart / 1705 North Barron Street, Eaton
Kmart / 1825 North State Route 19, Fremont
Kmart / 2250 Harding Hwy., Lima
Super K* / 5350 Leavitt Road, Lorain
Kmart / 625 West Central Ave, Springboro

The ailing company, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, had said in February that it would accelerate the closing of unprofitable stores following a "challenging" holiday season. The move announced Thursday is expected to generate a "meaningful level" of cash from the liquidation of store inventories and from the sale or sublease of some of the related real estate, it said Thursday.

All 10 Sears stores and nearly all the Kmart stores will close in late July. Two Kmart stores will close in mid-September.

"The decision to close stores is a difficult but necessary step as we take aggressive actions to strengthen our company, fund our transformation and restore Sears Holdings to profitability," said Edward S. Lampert, chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings in a statement. "We're focusing on our best members, our best categories, and our best stores as we work to accelerate our transformation."

The closings follow a comprehensive review of the company's locations that took into account store performance and the timing of lease expirations.

Sears Holdings has struggled for years with weakening sales, unable to keep up with companies that sell appliances, like Home Depot, or general merchandise, like Wal-Mart, or everything, as is the case with Amazon.com. The company has been selling assets to raise cash. In 2011, it operated 4,000 stores. Sears is also shifting away from its focus on running a store network into a member-focused business. Loyal shoppers receive incentives to buy. But those moves haven't gained much traction with shoppers.

In the fourth quarter, which includes the holiday shopping season, revenue at stores opened at least a year fell 6.9 percent at Sears, and 7.2 percent at Kmart. That's a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes the volatility from stores that recently opened or closed. The company saw its fourth-quarter loss widen to $580 million, from a $159 million loss a year ago.

Sears declined to say how many workers will be affected from the store closures, but it said that an overwhelming majority of the jobs are part-time positions. Eligible associates will receive severance and will have the chance to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores.

Complete list:


Sears / 700 Quintard Dr., Oxford
Kmart / 5980 Chalkville Mountain, Birmingham, AL
Kmart / 1101 Beltline Road, Decatur AL
Kmart / 230 Green Springs Hwy, Homewood
Kmart / 450 Z Schillingers Road, Mobile


Kmart / 300 West Mariposa Road, Nogales


Sears / 600 S University Ave., Little Rock


Kmart / 2270 East El Monte Way, Dinuba
Kmart / 520 S Cherokee Lane, Lodi
Kmart / 1475 Hillman Street, Tulare
Kmart / 2785 Highway 46, Wasco


Kmart / 44 Providence Pike, Putnam


Sears / 9501 Arlington Expy., Jacksonville
Kmart / 9600 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville
Kmart / 500 Atlantic Blvd, Neptune Beach
Kmart / 1809 Byron Butler Parkway, Perry


Kmart / 7050 S Pulaski, Chicago
Kmart / 2721 N Vermillion Street, Danville
Kmart / 1150 W Carl Sandburg Dr., Galesburg
Kmart / 17355 Torrence Ave., Lansing
Kmart / 2909 Court St., Pekin
Kmart / 3840 46th Ave, Rock Island


Kmart / 3216 E Third Street, Bloomington
Kmart / 3525 Grantline Rd., New Albany


Kmart / 1320 E 30th Ave., Hutchinson


Kmart / 1809 N Dixie Hwy., Elizabethtown
Kmart / 4025 Poplar Level Rd., Louisville
Kmart / 3911 Taylorsville Rd., Louisville
Kmart / 1581 US 68 South, Maysville
Kmart / 344 North Mayo Trail, Paintsville


Sears / 5953 W Park Ave., Houma
Kmart / 2985 Cottingham Expwy., Pineville


Kmart / 10 Main Street, Tewksbury


Sears / 6810 Eastman Ave., Midland
Kmart / 8171 W Houghton Lake Dr., Houghton Lake
Super K* / 21111 Van Born Rd., Taylor


Kmart / 11978 St Charles Rock Rd., Bridgeton
Kmart / 1930 E Kearney Street, Springfield


Kmart / 118 Highway 72 West, Corinth


Kmart / 2424 Central Ave., Billings

North Carolina

Kmart / 804 N Broad Street, Brevard
Kmart / 3580 East Franklin, Gastonia
Kmart / 2750 Roberts Avenue, Lumberton
Kmart / 10500 Centrum Parkway, Pineville
Kmart / 720 Sutter Creek Blvd., Rocky Mount


Kmart / 3001 West 12th, Hastings

New York

Sears / 200 Medley Centre Parkway, Irondequoit
Sears / 60 Smithfield Blvd, Plattsburgh
Kmart / 838 South Road, Poughkeepsie
Kmart / 3049 W. Ridge Rd., Rochester


Sears / 1377 Marion Waldo Rd., Marion
Super K / 3315 N Ridge E., Ashtabula
Kmart / 1705 North Barron Street, Eaton
Kmart / 1825 North State Route 19, Fremont
Kmart / 2250 Harding Hwy., Lima
Super K* / 5350 Leavitt Road, Lorain
Kmart / 625 West Central Ave, Springboro


Sears / 101 Clearview Cir., Butler
Sears / 2500 W State St., New Castle
Kmart / 2660 Constitution Blvd., Beaver Falls
Kmart / 8800 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia
Kmart /3000 McIntyre Square Dr., Pittsburgh
Kmart / 1775 S Braddock Avenue, Pittsburgh
Kmart / 3045 Fifth Street Hwy., Reading
Kmart / 99 Matthews Drive, Uniontown

South Carolina

Kmart / 2209 West Dekalb, Camden

South Dakota

Kmart / 1000 18th St SW, Huron
Kmart / 2210 Broadway Avenue, Yankton


Kmart / 1802 Decatur Pike, Athens
Kmart / 945 McCammon Ave., Maryville
Kmart / 902 S. Main Street, Sweetwater


Kmart / 11330 Montwood Dr., El Paso
Kmart / 1405 East Expressway 83, Mission
Kmart / 210 SE Georgia Ave., Sweetwater


Kmart / 1055 East Draper Pkwy., Draper
Kmart / 610 West Price River Dr., Price
Kmart / 1442 W 90th South, West Jordan


Kmart / 1275 Bell Avenue, Hartford



Empty Freight Train Cars Headed to Maryland Derail in Ohio

FOSTORIA, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say 11 empty train cars have derailed in Ohio with no injuries reported.
The derailment happened Monday morning about 35 miles south of Toledo in Fostoria.
The Blade newspaper in Toledo reports that fire officials say no hazardous materials were involved.
City fire officials tell WNWO-TV they expected traffic problems in the area because the CSX rail cars were blocking some main roadways.
The Blade reports that CSX Transportation Company says the train of more than 230 cars and five locomotives left Walbridge, Ohio and was heading to Cumberland, Maryland. The company says at least 75 cars on the train were carrying freight that included automotive parts, agricultural products and consumer goods.
The cause of the derailment is under investigation.


Ohio House Lawmakers Pass Bill to Stiffen Murder Penalties


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A proposal to stiffen mandatory sentences for convicted murderers in Ohio has been approved by the Ohio House and is headed to the Senate for consideration.




The House approved "Justin's Law" last week. It calls for increasing the number of years convicted murderers must serve before becoming parole eligible.


The bill increases 20-, 25- and 30-year mandatory prison terms to 25, 30, 35, 45 or 55 years.


It also increases possible penalties for premeditated murder and for convicted murderers under age 18.


The parents of Justin Back have urged lawmakers to stiffen the penalties after the 18-year-old Warren teen was killed by two men in January 2014.


The Ohio public defender's office says the bill is unnecessary because prison life expectancy is around 39 years.



Amount of Opioids Prescribed to Injured Ohio Workers Falls


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The amount of opioids prescribed to injured Ohio workers has fallen significantly since the state's insurance fund for injured workers created a pharmacy management program amid concerns about painkiller usage.




The state Bureau of Workers' Compensation tells The Columbus Dispatch that fewer than 4,800 workers have been deemed opiate-dependent after exceeding 9,300 five years ago.


The pharmacy management program was implemented in 2011.


Officials say opioid doses for injured workers have since dropped by more than 40 percent.


The insurance fund says it wants Ohio to become the first state to write opioid prescription guidelines and workers' compensation rules into state administrative code.


Doctors would create and monitor a treatment plan, as well as document its effectiveness. There would also be guidelines on weaning injured workers off opioids.



Police: Ohio Driver Dies in Crash After Fleeing Authorities


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police say an Ohio driver who refused to stop for authorities died in a crash after swerving to avoid road spikes.




The accident happened early Saturday morning on the near east side of Columbus.


Columbus police say events leading to the crash began when Franklin County sheriff's deputies attempted to pull the car over for a traffic offense.


Police say the car was in a minor accident in suburban Reynoldsburg and continued west through suburban Whitehall where police unsuccessfully deployed road spikes.


Columbus police say the car swerved to avoid a second deployment of road spikes farther west and hit a utility pole after the driver lost control.


Police say the 27-year-old driver was dead at the scene and a 23-year-old passenger was admitted to a local hospital.




Ohio Launches New Helpline for Sexual, Relationship Violence


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Advocates at a new, statewide helpline for victims of sexual and relationship violence are now taking calls.


Phone Hotline


Attorney General Mike DeWine joined the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio to announce the initiative Friday in suburban Columbus.


The network is a sexual violence intervention and prevention program serving Franklin County. It is operating the helpline, which is funded with a $1.2 million grant provided by DeWine's office.


Ohioans can call the helpline at 1-844-OHIO-HELP. It's staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week by advocates who are trained in safety planning and crises intervention. They can direct victims to local resources, offer confidential support and provide recovery books and emergency door and window locks.


The helpline doesn't replace others currently in operation elsewhere in the state.



Ohio Mom, Grandma Charged in Teen's Suspected Drug Death at Hotel


GREEN, Ohio (AP) — The mother and grandmother of a teen who died from a suspected heroin overdose at an Ohio hotel have been charged in his death.




Authorities say they believe 16-year-old Andrew Frye, his mother and her friend used heroin together at the hotel in the Akron suburb of Green before he was found dead Wednesday night.


A coroner says the boy possibly overdosed on heroin, and syringes and drug paraphernalia were found in the room. Authorities are investigating whether his grandmother bought the drugs.


His mother, Heather Frye, and grandmother, Brenda Frye, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Court records don't list an attorney for the women, who are from Akron. There were no telephone listings for them.


The mother's friend was charged with tampering with evidence and drug possession. Authorities are investigating whether his grandmother bought the drugs.




Ohio Board Has Approved Final Rules for School Barricade Devices


REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio building standards board has approved final rules allowing schools to deploy portable barricade devices in the event of an active shooter.


School Barracade


The devices gained popularity after the Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary School massacres and a 2012 shooting in the Cleveland suburb of Chardon that killed three students.


Some devices slide under doors; others attach to door handles. The Board of Building Standards planned a Friday hearing.


Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio are among states that have updated their fire or building codes to allow the devices.


Barricade Device


Skeptics say the devices are complicated to install under stress and could lead to dangerous unintended consequences, including blocking authorities from an attacker inside a classroom.


Door Barricade



Updated at 11:07 AM to show board has approved the new rules.


Pot Brownie Intended for Ohio Mom, 79, Sickened Home Aide


FAIRFIELD, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say an Ohio man made marijuana-laced brownies for his unknowing, 79-year-old mother, and she offered one to a home health care worker who then became ill.


Pot Brownie


Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones says 45-year-old Kurtis Lee Kemper served the brownies to his mother without divulging the ingredients. Nancy Kemper then gave one to the health care worker Wednesday at her home in Fairfield, a Cincinnati suburb.


Jones says the unnamed worker became "violently ill" and learned at an emergency room that she had ingested marijuana.


Kemper was jailed on two counts of corrupting another with drugs.


His mother says he doesn't have an attorney. She says he told police he wanted to help her sleep.


She says she doesn't use drugs, adding: "I'm clean."




Ohio Inmate at Private Prison Denied Hearing Aids ACLU Suing


CLEVELAND (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is suing the state prisons department for not providing two functional hearing aids to a hearing-impaired inmate at Lake Erie Correctional Institution.


Hearing Aid


A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal district court in Cleveland alleges the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's statewide policy of providing only one hearing aid to inmates is unconstitutional and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.


The ACLU says inmate James Handwork's hearing was damaged during Army service in the 1980s, requiring a hearing aid in each ear. His current hearing aids no longer work and can't be repaired. The suit contends the prison, owned by Corrections Corporation of America since 2012, should provide both replacements. It calls the state policy arbitrary.


A message seeking comment was left with the department.



Ohio Police Cadet Wounded in Firing Range Shooting


NAPOLEON, Ohio (AP) — A police cadet was seriously wounded but expected to survive what authorities say apparently was an accidental shooting at a northwest Ohio firing range.


Firing Range


Authorities say the shooting occurred Tuesday night as the cadet was training with the Northwest State Law Enforcement Academy at the range in Henry County. They say he appeared to have been accidentally shot in the back by a classmate during gun-training exercises and was initially in critical condition.


A Henry County sheriff's dispatcher confirmed Thursday that the cadet was awake and talking and expected to survive. The cadet hasn't been identified.


Henry County Sheriff Michael Bodenbender says authorities were investigating, but initial reports indicate an accidental shooting.


Authorities say the shooter apparently was cleaning or oiling a gun he thought wasn't loaded when it discharged.




Ohio Regulators OK 2 Deals That Subsidize Older Power Plants


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Regulators in Ohio approved two closely watched energy deals on Thursday allowing two utility companies to impose short-term rate increases on electricity customers to subsidize some older coal-fired and nuclear power plants.


Ohio Power Plant


The deals have attracted mountains of written testimony, websites, email-writing campaigns and sparring in television ads. That's because they follow an old model at a time of sweeping change in the U.S. energy market that consumer groups believe should be driving prices down, not up, and forcing coal-fired plants to close.


Opponents immediately hinted they'd take legal action, most likely alleging the deals are anti-competitive, and a group of independent power producers has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to intervene in the cases.


The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio took a single combined vote on the power purchase agreements, which were separately filed by Akron-based FirstEnergy and Columbus-based AEP.


With the plans, the power companies seek profit guarantees to cover operational costs at certain aging coal-fired and nuclear plants as they modernize the power grid and transition to cleaner energy sources.

PUCO Chairman Andre Porter said the deals, which had drawn national attention from business, consumer, environmental and energy groups, had been modified to address some of the concerns.


He said the FirstEnergy plan includes a mechanism to further stabilize customer bills during the early years of the eight-year plan, while the AEP plan was also adjusted to minimize consumer impact.


The Alliance for Energy Choice, which opposed the deals, said it was dismayed commissioners didn't reject both of them outright.


"We hoped that the PUCO would heed the outcry of thousands of Ohio consumers who deluged the offices of the PUCO, Governor (John) Kasich and state legislators with more than 100,000 calls, letters and emails denouncing FirstEnergy's and AEP's schemes to charge customers above-market rates, with absolutely no benefit to consumers," said spokesman Todd Snitchler, a former PUCO chairman.


Porter said it's the commission's role to negotiate sometimes competing interests.


"The commission must balance the interests of Ohio's hard-working citizens, the state's vital businesses and the public utility companies which we regulate," he said. "Striking this balance can be challenging."


The Ohio Consumers' Counsel, representing utility ratepayers, projected the deals will cost customers an extra $5.9 billion combined over eight years - $3.9 billion for FirstEnergy and $2 billion for AEP. Those figures were calculated before the commission's additional changes.


The Environmental Defense Fund said it is confident that federal regulators and the courts will not let the agreements stand.


"Today, Ohio regulators showed their loyalties lie with politically powerful polluters rather than the people they are supposed to serve," vice president Jim Marston said in a statement. "Instead of encouraging investment in abundant, clean energy solutions, these bailouts subsidize old power plants that are dirtying our air - a terrible deal for Ohioans' health and wallets."


The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum drew key distinctions between the two plans - crediting AEP with a proposal that makes a long-term commitment to solar and wind energy.


"AEP appears committed to transition to future with cleaner, cheaper sources of electricity; unfortunately, FirstEnergy seems content with sticking small businesses and families with higher electricity bills," said Mike Hartley, the group's executive director.

The AEP plan had the backing of the PUCO staff and the Sierra Club.


Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan called the decision "good for Ohio and good for Akron" benefiting a company that's "an essential economic driver for our city, state and region."


"This rate plan balances the interests of customers, economic development and the environment and will help provide stability over the next eight years," he said.



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