Ohio News Briefs


Man charged with ethnic intimidation for hitting white woman

CLEVELAND (AP) — Authorities say a suspected gang member who is black has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly punching a white woman in Cleveland.

Cleveland.com reports Cleveland police arrested 24-year-old Jermaine Hines Jr. early Thursday on an arrest warrant for a felony ethnic intimidation charge.

Court documents allege Hines walked up to a 51-year-old woman on a Cleveland street in August, punched her and knocked her to the ground without any provocation. Documents say Hines accused the woman of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan and called her a white supremacist.

Online court records don’t indicate whether Hines has an attorney.

A Cleveland police detective said in court documents that Hines is a member of a street gang.

Man charged with cruelty after 166 cats taken from his home

GAHANNA, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man has been charged with animal cruelty after 166 cats were taken from a home where 55 other felines were found dead.

The Columbus Dispatch reports 60-year-old Daniel Slyby, of Gahanna, must post a $64,000 bond by Dec. 30 or his cats will be permanently forfeited to a Columbus animal welfare organization.

Slyby was charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty Wednesday in Franklin County Municipal Court.

Columbus Humane, which conducts animal cruelty investigations, says the cats were found living in deplorable conditions when they were removed from Slyby’s home last week.

All but one of the cats is receiving care at Columbus Humane’s shelter. One cat had to be euthanized.

Slyby’s attorney, Tony Clymer, said Thursday that Slyby denies having treated his cats cruelly.

Ohio child advocates: Opioid crisis straining foster care

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Child advocates say the opioid crisis is overwhelming Ohio’s foster care system as more and more children are removed from the homes of drug-addicted parents.

The Public Children Services Association of Ohio says more than 15,500 children are now in foster care, up from about 12,600 four years ago.

The agency said Thursday in a new report that Ohio is on track to place more than 20,000 children in foster care by 2020.

Angela Sausser is the agency’s executive director. She says more state funding is needed to address the crisis despite increases lawmakers provided earlier this year.

The report comes a day after the federal government reported a record 63,600 overdose deaths last year, two thirds of them involving opioids like heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers.

Police probing shooting at Ohio psychiatric services ER

CINCINNATI (AP) — Police are trying to determine what led to gunfire at an Ohio hospital’s psychiatric services emergency room that left an unarmed security officer wounded and the gunman dead.

Cincinnati police indicated they would release updated information on their investigation sometime Thursday. The gunman hadn’t been identified as of Wednesday night.

Police believe he died of a self-inflicted gunshot after storming the University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s psychiatric services wing.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac said police couldn’t say immediately whether the man was known to employees or medical staff.

Police responded to an “active shooter” report in the area of UC Medical Center just before 2 p.m. Wednesday. Isaac said afterward that police were still piecing together the sequence of events, but didn’t believe any officers fired their weapons.

Coroner tracks even more overdose deaths for Columbus area

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The coroner serving the greater Columbus area says overdose deaths blamed largely on opioids topped the total for all of last year after only nine months.

Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz said Wednesday the county in central Ohio saw 383 overdose deaths through September.

The county saw 353 overdose deaths in 2016.

Ortiz says the abuse of the synthetic painkiller fentanyl is driving the increase, with 230 fentanyl-related deaths so far this year compared to 144 for all of 2016.

Ortiz says the majority of victims continue to be white men, while overdose deaths among blacks are rising. Ortiz said the age of victims is falling.

The state Health Department says a record 4,050 Ohioans died of overdoses in 2016.

University of Toledo offers students 4-year tuition freeze

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The University of Toledo is promising students the same tuition rate all four years of college.

The university’s tuition guarantee begins next fall for first-year or transfer students. It sets a fixed amount for tuition and mandatory fees for four years, as well as on-campus housing and meal plans. Tuition goes up if students take classes beyond four years.

The plan doesn’t cover the school’s out-of-state surcharge or graduate student tuition.

Toledo becomes Ohio’s eighth four-year public college or university to propose the guarantee. Lawmakers have frozen tuition in the state, but allow one-time increases as part of such four-year guarantees.

University trustees will set tuition rates annually for each four-year class, guaranteeing that undergraduate students will pay the same rate for four academic years.