Ohio News Briefs

Ohioans must register by Tuesday to cast votes for president

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohioans have until Tuesday to register to vote in this fall’s presidential election.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says voters registered by Oct. 11 also will have the opportunity to weigh in on congressional and state legislative races, justices of the Ohio Supreme Court and appellate judges, and members of the state Board of Education.

Around the state, local candidates and more than 1,800 local issues, including school levies, also are on ballots.

Voter registration forms are available at MyOhioVote.com. That is also where changes of address may be made through Tuesday.

Absentee and in-person early voting may begin Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Ex-veterans official convicted of theft in office in Ohio

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A former veterans services director accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the county agency has been found guilty of theft in office in Ohio.

Pickaway County jurors found the ex-director guilty Thursday of three counts of theft in office and single counts of grand theft, theft and unauthorized use of property. Authorities say 52-year-old Rebecca Lee used a county credit card intended for veterans commission business to get thousands of dollars for gambling and other personal expenses.

Lee’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call for comment Friday.

A prosecutor says Lee was responsible for nearly $14,000 in unauthorized charges and cash advances between 2010 and 2014 and improperly collected almost $4,300 in mileage.

Lee was fired in December 2014 amid allegations of misspending.

No sentencing date was set.

Parents of baby boy who died plead not guilty to charges

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — The parents of a baby boy who was found unresponsive in a southwest Ohio motel room and later died have pleaded not guilty to child endangering charges.

Twenty-year-old Brian Lee Spencer Jr. and 19-year-old Shania Delawder entered their not-guilty pleas in Clark County Municipal Court on Friday. Bond was set at $55,000 for Spencer and $50,000 for Delawder. Court records don’t show attorneys for the two.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responded to a report about the unresponsive, 6-week-old boy at a Springfield motel on Thursday. The infant was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Deputies say investigators found signs of abuse and neglect, but they didn’t immediately release details. They say an autopsy was planned to determine the cause and manner of the boy’s death.

Clinton, Pence returning to Ohio for campaign events

Hillary Clinton will return to Ohio next week to campaign prior to the state’s voter registration deadline and a day after the second presidential debate.

The Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign office says she will urge Ohioans to register and vote early during her visit to the Columbus area on Monday. Clinton will also discuss her plans for the economy. No other details of the visit were immediately available Friday.

The Republican vice presidential candidate was scheduled to campaign Friday in two northern Ohio cities. Mike Pence scheduled rallies in the Cleveland suburb of Strongsville and in Rossford, near Toledo.

Cleveland area had at least 52 overdose deaths in September

CLEVELAND (AP) — The county medical examiner in Cleveland says the number of deadly overdoses from opioids in September matched the record amount set a month earlier.

As in August, 52 people fatally overdosed from heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil or a combination of the drugs in Cuyahoga County.

The medical examiner says that brings the total so far this year to 385 people.

It’s possible the number of deaths in September could increase pending ongoing tests.

The medical examiner’s office says 23 of the fatal overdoses last month involved Cleveland residents, while 29 were from its suburban areas.

The office says it has been overwhelmed by the number of overdoses. It will likely spend an extra $130,000 this year just to take bodies to the morgue.

Obama commutes sentences for 3 Ohioans who had drug charges

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama has commuted 20-year prison sentences for three Ohioans in his ongoing push to grant clemency during his final months in office and spur action on criminal justice reform.

They were among 102 people in the latest commutations announced Thursday. Most were convicted of nonviolent crimes related to cocaine or other drugs, though some were also serving time for firearms violations in connection to drug trafficking, possession or sales.

Arthur Clinkscale, of Youngstown, and Alan Jerome Spears, of Cleveland, had their sentences for cocaine possession commuted to expire next year, on Feb. 3.

Gerald Lofton, of Warren, faced cocaine conspiracy and firearms-related charges. His sentence was commuted to expire Oct. 6, 2018, depending on enrollment in a residential treatment program.

In total, Obama has shortened 774 sentences.