Ohio News Briefs

Language nears OK on Ohio drug price, victim rights measures

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A state panel is set to approve final ballot language for two statewide issues being placed before Ohio voters this fall.

The Ohio Ballot Board meets Thursday on measures related to crime victims’ rights and drug pricing set to appear on Nov. 7 ballots.

Issue 1 is dubbed Marsy’s Law. The proposed constitutional amendment would give crime victims and their families the same rights as the accused, including notice of court proceedings, input on plea deals and the ability to tell their story.

Issue 2 is titled the Drug Price Relief Act. The hotly contested citizen-initiated statute seeks to bar state agencies from buying drugs at prices higher than those paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which receives deep discounts.

Ohio utilities board signs off on FirstEnergy rate hike

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio regulators have rejected appeals of an earlier decision that allows FirstEnergy Corp. to impose electricity rate increases for three years.

The move will give FirstEnergy an additional $204 million each year. Homeowners using an average of 750 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month will see monthly bills increase by $36 a year.

The money is supposed to go toward improving the utility’s electricity distribution grid.

Opponents argue that it opens the door for Akron-based FirstEnergy to put the money toward its struggling nuclear and coal power plants.

FirstEnergy has been trying to convince Ohio lawmakers that it needs $300 million in new charges to save its two aging nuclear plants that are facing stiff competition from natural gas power plants.

Ohio woman charged after leaving 2 kids in car

WARREN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman has been charged with child endangering after police say she left her two young children in a car for an hour.

Twenty-three-year-old LaBrittany Campbell pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Warren Municipal Court in northeast Ohio. She was released on a personal bond and ordered not to have unsupervised contact with minor children.

Warren police say a 22-month-old and a 3-year-old were discovered inside the car around noon Tuesday when temperatures hovered in the low 80s. Witnesses told police the 3-year-old had started the car, turning on the air conditioning.

Police say Campbell told officers she was asleep in her apartment.

The children were given to their grandmother after being assessed by Trumbull County Children Services.

It’s unclear if Campbell has an attorney yet.

Father charged in baby boy’s fatal overdose of opioid combo

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man has been charged in the fatal drug overdose of his 1-year-old son.

Thirty-three-year-old Dorrico Brown, of Trenton, Ohio, was jailed Wednesday on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering in the death of Dorrico Brown Jr.

Authorities say the man called 911 in May after finding his son on a bed not breathing. The baby was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The Butler County Coroner’s Office says tests showed the child died from a combination of drugs including oxycodone, an opioid, and anti-anxiety medication. It wasn’t clear how the boy ingested the drugs.

Court records don’t indicate if Brown has an attorney.

Cedar Point unveils new roller coaster, Steel Vengeance

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) — An old roller coaster is getting new life at Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio, and park officials promise it will be their wildest ride yet.

Steal Vengeance will feature steel tracks atop the modified wooden skeleton of the decommissioned Mean Streak coaster. Details of the new ride were announced Wednesday, but the revamp of the massive wooden structure had already started and was visible to curious parkgoers.

Park officials say the new ride will share a foundation with the old one, but will provide a new experience, rising about 40 feet higher than Mean Streak to a peak of 205 feet. Officials say it will reach speeds of 74 mph and feature multiple inversions and a 90 degree drop.

The ride is expected to open next year.

Hidden camera discovered in council chambers riles members

BELLAIRE, Ohio (AP) — A hidden camera in the chambers of an Ohio village council has riled some of the members who discovered it, but village officials say it’s there for security, not spying.

Bellaire Village Councilman Dan Brown says council members were unaware of the camera until they began searching for the source of leaks about nonpublic meetings and found a receipt for a video surveillance clock. Brown says the receipt bore the name of Village Administrator Scott Porter.

But Porter told WTOV-TV that the camera is there to monitor the council’s audience and the entry to the chambers as a security measure. He says it doesn’t record audio.

Brown says he wants the device removed and would have it destroyed if it weren’t paid for by taxpayers.

Police: 2 accused of dumping body of woman after alleged OD

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — Police say a woman apparently overdosed at a house, was put in a wheelbarrow and was dumped in nearby woods in southwest Ohio by a man and a woman now charged with corpse abuse and other offenses.

Middletown police Lt. Scott Reeve told the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News on Wednesday that 32-year-old Erica Robinson and 28-year-old Joshua Swenson, both of Middletown, have also been charged with tampering with evidence, obstructing official business and permitting drug abuse.

Online court records don’t indicate an attorney for Robinson or Swenson.

The newspaper reports the two told police they moved 20-year-old Leslie Dalton’s body during the night after she died. Her body was found Sunday.

The Butler County Coroner’s Office lists Dalton’s cause of death as “pending.” Police say her death is being investigated as an overdose.

Prosecutor cites stepson’s death; pushes for drug program

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio prosecutor whose stepson died from a drug overdose a year ago is now asking county leaders to put money into a program to help addicts get into treatment more quickly.

Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson says his stepson died in 2016 despite going through a recovery program. The Sentinel-Tribune in Bowling Green reports Dobson asked this week for the northwest Ohio county to fund a coordinator for a new quick-response program to help fight opioid addiction.

The prosecutor’s office also is applying for an Ohio Attorney General’s grant that will pay $77,000 for a Wood County Sheriff’s Office deputy to work with the program.

Dobson says he wasn’t placed in the office to follow his own needs, but programs like this are in the interest of the public.

5 more officials could lose licenses in school data scandal

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Records show five more administrators in an Ohio school district could lose their state educator licenses in connection with an investigation that found student data was falsified to improve district performance ratings.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the Ohio Department of Education sent the letters Aug. 8 to the Columbus City Schools principals suspected of falsifying data. They have 30 days to request a hearing.

School district spokesman Scott Varner says the district won’t enact further penalties pending the outcome of the hearings.

The Columbus school board president declined to comment.

Ohio’s state auditor previously found the district “scrubbed” some students who hadn’t left school from attendance rolls to make the district’s performance appear better on its state report cards.

The latest notices accuse administrators of misconduct during the 2010-11 year.

City officials: Confederate monument will be removed

FRANKLIN, Ohio (AP) — A 90-year-old monument honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee located along an Ohio highway will be removed.

Officials in the city of Franklin announced Wednesday evening that the monument is located within the right of way of Dixie Highway. They say rights of way need to remain clear to “avoid the creation of a public safety hazard.”

A plaque affixed to a rock foundation indicates the monument was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1927.

City officials say they were only made aware that the monument, which belongs to Franklin Township, is located within the city of Franklin after the township announced earlier Wednesday that it would stay put.

City officials say the monument will be removed and returned to the neighboring township.