Ohio News Briefs

Police, fire pension fund warns of fraudulent check scam

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A retirement fund for Ohio police and firefighters is warning people to watch for fraudulent checks bearing its name.

The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund says the checks are drawn from an erroneous account at Huntington National Bank in sums from $1,650 to $5,000. Many are going to people who aren’t members of the retirement system.

The fund advises not cashing any check unless you are expecting a specific amount from it in the mail.

The scam has taken many forms, but usually the recipient is asked to cash the check, keep a portion and forward the balance to the originator.

Authorities at the fund are investigating and working with the bank to minimize financial consequences. They say member records and confidential information weren’t compromised.

Ohio school district bans clown costumes at Halloween events

CANFIELD, Ohio (AP) — A school district in northeast Ohio has banned clown costumes from Halloween festivities.

The Vindicator in Youngstown reports the Canfield School District superintendent says a traditional Halloween dress-up day will continue, but with no clowns.

The decision comes amid reports in Ohio and elsewhere of people having frightening encounters involving clowns.

Canfield Superintendent Alex Geordan says elementary school students have been nervous and talking to teachers about their concerns. He says eliminating clown costumes should provide children with a more enjoyable Halloween.

The newspaper reports a “Youngstown Clowns” Instagram account recently posted a list of area school districts that clowns purportedly intended to visit.

Amy Radinovic of the Mahoning County Educational Service Center says she knows of no other districts that have formally banned clown costumes.

2 toddlers seriously injured in ATV rollover crash

CLEVES, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say two toddlers have been hospitalized with serious injuries after an all-terrain vehicle they were riding with the grandfather of one of the boys rolled over near Cincinnati.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office says a 42-year-old man had been riding an ATV with his 3-year-old grandson and the 2-year-old son of a family friend Tuesday evening in Miami Township.

Authorities say one of the boys grabbed the handlebar, causing the ATV to roll onto its side. All three were thrown.

Police say Peace was treated at the scene. Authorities say the 3-year-old was initially unresponsive.

The two unidentified children have been hospitalized and are listed in serious condition.

Authorities say none of the riders were wearing protective equipment or helmets.

An investigation is ongoing.

Ohio, federal agency reach deal on dredging Cleveland harbor

CLEVELAND (AP) — The federal agency that maintains shipping channels along Lake Erie has reached an agreement with Ohio’s environmental regulators that will keep open Cleveland’s harbor.

The deal calls for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the Cleveland shipping channel where cargo ships have been forced to lighten loads because of accumulated sediment.

The agreement also says either the Corps or the state of Ohio will pay the additional disposal costs once a lawsuit between the two is decided.

The Corps and Ohio’s environmental agency have been locked in a yearlong legal battle about where the sediment can be disposed.

The Corps says the sediment isn’t toxic and can be dumped in the lake, but the state argues the sediment is polluted and should go into a containment dike.

Man freed after 18 years wants wrongful conviction declared

CLEVELAND (AP) — A man who says he spent 18 years in prison for a Cleveland murder he didn’t commit is fighting for a declaration of innocence that could enable him to get compensation for time behind bars.

Cleveland.com reports Anthony Lemons sought a new trial and proved that shoes used to connect him to the case weren’t made at the time of the 1994 shooting. Lemons was freed after prosecutors dropped charges against him in December 2014, though they stopped short of conceding his innocence.

Lemons then pursued a wrongful conviction certificate from another judge. Evidence barred in the retrial was allowed in the civil proceeding, and the judge denied Lemons’ request to be declared innocent.

Lemons is appealing to a state court. Prosecutors have until Tuesday to file a response.

Cops: Man, wife found dead in bed in apparent murder-suicide

CLEVELAND (AP) — Officials say a 76-year-old man fatally shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself after police arrived at their Cleveland home.

Commander Brandon Kutz tells Cleveland.com police were called to the home around noon on Wednesday after John Woods reported something bad had happened to his 70-year-old wife, Vondra.

Authorities say John Woods also said he was considering killing himself.

Officials say a SWAT team was called in after officers outside the home heard a gunshot.

Police say both were found dead in their bed.

Officials say family members said both had health issues.

The shooting comes a day after officials say Jorge Aviles entered a Cleveland Burger King restaurant where his ex-girlfriend Erlyn Rivera-Cintron worked, shot her in the head and then killed himself inside a bathroom.

New Nicolas Cage film will be shot in Cincinnati this fall

CINCINNATI (AP) — The filming of a new movie starring Academy Award winners Nicolas Cage and Faye Dunaway is set to begin in Cincinnati this fall.

Production offices for the film, “Inconceivable,” are open in Cincinnati, but shooting dates haven’t yet been announced.

The thriller from director Jonathan Baker follows the story of a mother and her young daughter who move to a new town to escape their abusive past.

This is the third movie produced by Emmett Furla Oasis in Cincinnati and is the production company’s fifth in Ohio during the past year.

Film Cincinnati officials say the city has become a “common stomping ground” for A-list actors and in turn has made tremendous opportunities available for locals.

The commission expects “Inconceivable” will require hundreds of extras.

County gets $3M federal grant to remove lead from 160 homes

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A suburban Cleveland county has received nearly $3 million in federal grant money to continue efforts to remove lead from contaminated homes.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports officials say they hope to remove lead from 160 homes in Summit County using the new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant.

The county’s Lead Hazard Control Program aims to help low- to moderate-income residents who live in homes built before 1978.

The county used a 2013 grant to remove lead from 140 homes.

Lead poisoning can damage nearly every organ, particularly the kidneys, red blood cells and central nervous system.

It can also lead to learning disabilities, lower IQs and other health problems in children.

Lead exposure often comes from old paint.