Ohio News Briefs

Ohio auditor questions lack of investigations after scandal

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s state auditor is questioning why some Columbus school administrators haven’t been disciplined by the Ohio Department of Education five years after a newspaper investigation found that records had been altered to scrub millions of student absences.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Auditor Dave Yost says the education department has disciplined just 16 of 64 Columbus school administrators suspected of falsifying data. Yost says 35 still work for the district, some earning six-figure salaries, including two of the superintendent’s top aides.

The Dispatch investigation found that records of 2.8 million absences were deleted over a 5 ½ year period.

A Columbus school district spokesman declined to comment about why employees implicated by Yost remain district leaders.

An education department spokeswoman says the agency can’t disclose who is under investigation.

Columbus woman wins 2017 Miss Ohio contest

MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) — A 22-year-old Columbus woman has been named Miss Ohio and will represent the state at the Miss America contest later this year.

The Mansfield News Journal reports Sarah Clapper was crowned Miss Ohio on Saturday night in Mansfield. It’s the fifth time she has competed in the Miss Ohio contest. She won both the talent preliminary with a piano performance and the lifestyle and fitness preliminary.

Clapper says she almost gave up her dream to become Miss Ohio and Miss America after her mother became ill last year.

The Miss America contest is in Atlantic City this September.

First runner-up was Karolina Ulasevich, of North Royalton; second runner-up was Matti-Lynn Chrisman, of Cambridge; third runner-up was Hannah Zimmerman, of Circleville; and fourth runner-up was Amelia Hitchens, of Newark.

Ohio woman killed on motorcycle that struck deer

MARION, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say an Ohio woman has been killed and her husband injured when a motorcycle driven by the husband struck a deer and crashed on a rural road.

The state Highway Patrol says the accident occurred around 9 p.m. Saturday in Marion County, killing 60-year-old Cheryl Hollinger, of Powell. She died at a hospital. Fifty-year-old Paul Hollinger also was taken to a hospital. His condition isn’t known.

The patrol says Paul Hollinger was driving a 2017 Harley-Davidson on State Route 98 in Marion County when it struck a deer crossing the road, causing the motorcycle to skid and crash into a ditch.

Troopers say the couple wasn’t wearing helmets and alcohol doesn’t appear to be a factor.

Columbus community group helps pick first responders

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Columbus residents will have a hand in picking future police officers and firefighters through a new community initiative.

WCMH-TV reports a group of nine community evaluators will help hire first responders who better represent the communities they serve.

Community evaluator Janara Alfano says the panel is more focused on character than race. Alfano ultimately wants to mend the relationship between the city and first responders.

The community evaluators will work with the police and fire department to sort through applications.

Columbus Fire Department Lt. Chad Bair says firefighters appreciate the outside perspective.

The fire department and community evaluators will finish the review process this week. Applications for the police department open July 1.

Date set for guilty plea for Ohio man linked to extremists

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge has set a date to accept the guilty plea of an Ohio man accused of trying to travel to Libya to join the Islamic State group.

Documents filed in federal court last week say Aaron Daniels, of Columbus, will plead guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Authorities allege Daniels wired $250 to an Islamic State operative in January 2016 and told an undercover informant he was interested in traveling to commit violence overseas.

Daniels was taken into custody last year at John Glenn Columbus International Airport after a months-long investigation.

Judge Edmond Sargus on Friday scheduled Daniels’ plea hearing for June 29.

Daniel faces 20 years in prison. His attorney did not return a message seeking comment.

Frisch’s Big Boy plans return to downtown Cincinnati

CINCINNATI (AP) — A well-known Cincinnati restaurant chain is planning a return to the city’s downtown after closing its last location there in 2004.

Frisch’s Big Boy announced Thursday that it hopes to open the new restaurant in February 2018 and hire about 80 people.

Frisch’s planned return comes during a surge of growth in apartments and entertainment venues over the past decade in the downtown area. The company is using an online survey to ask for the public’s input in designing the restaurant.

Frisch’s was bought in 2015 by a private investment firm. The company has locations in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

The Big Boy trademark is also used by Big Boy Restaurants International and was previously used by many regional chains.

Former Ohio legislator appealing conviction keeps license

PORT CLINTON, Ohio (AP) — A former Ohio legislator convicted of theft will be allowed to keep his auctioneer license while an appeal with the state Supreme Court is pending.

The Sandusky Register reports the state Department of Agriculture began to revoke former Rep. Steve Kraus’ auctioneer license after an appeal of his 2015 felony theft conviction was denied. Kraus, a Republican from Sandusky, then appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

A hearing officer last week recommended that the state wait to revoke the license sought by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office while the new appeal is pending.

The officer also recommended that Kraus’ license be revoked if the state Supreme Court doesn’t agree to hear the case or denies the appeal.

Kraus’ attorney called the ruling a “huge victory.”

Ohio man dies after being shocked in lake during rescue try

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a 19-year-old central Ohio man has died after being electrocuted while trying to save his father and family dog at a Lake Erie island marina.

State officials say Evan Currie, of Dublin, was killed Friday evening on Put-in-Bay where his family docks its 33-foot-long power boat in western Lake Erie.

Officials say the boat had just been plugged in for shore power when the family’s dog fell into the water. Currie’s father, Jeffrey, jumped in to save the dog and immediately began struggling. Evan Currie and his brother jumped into the water and also struggled.

Jeffrey Currie and his other son managed to get back onto the boat after the shore power was unplugged while Evan Currie did not.

The Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft is investigating.

Teens arrested after chase from break-in try at gun store

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say three teenagers have been arrested after a high-speed chase following an attempted smash-and-grab at an Ohio gun store.

WJW-TV reports the chase began early Friday after a state Highway Patrol trooper saw the teens trying to break through the shop’s doors with a stolen Jeep in the Cleveland suburb of Middleburg Heights.

Police say the teens abandoned the vehicle and jumped into a van, prompting a chase by troopers and Middleburgh Heights police. Police say a pursuit along Interstates 71 and 480 reached 105 mph. Two teens fled after the van rolled to a stop on I-480 and were later arrested.

The teens are ages 15, 16 and 17.

Police are investigating whether the teens were involved in a break-in at a nearby gun store Tuesday.

Police: 1 dead, several wounded in Ohio nightclub shooting

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police say a man has died and at least four people have been wounded in a shooting at a nightclub in Ohio’s capital city.

Columbus police say the shooting occurred just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday at Delfin NightLife on the city’s north side.

Police say 21-year-old Domineek Sharp was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say two people taken to hospitals are in critical condition while others who were wounded were driven to hospitals in private vehicles.

WCMH-TV reports that detectives say the shooting might be gang-related.

Police are asking witnesses who haven’t been interviewed to contact the Columbus homicide unit.