Ohio News Briefs

Bill would require worker contributions to jobless benefits

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Legislation to fix Ohio’s unemployment compensation system would require workers to start contributing to the system while also increasing the amount paid by employers.

The bill being considered by a House committee would freeze maximum weekly benefits for 10 years and cut the number of weeks that benefits are available in some cases.

Republican State Rep. Kirk Schuring says the proposal represents a starting place in the effort to shore up the system.

In the wake of the recession that started in 2007, concern has grown about the system’s structure and how long the state’s fund that pays unemployment benefits can be sustained.

Matt Szollosi, head of a trade group representing construction workers, tells The Columbus Dispatch he supports employee contributions if they prevent cuts to benefits.

County in Cleveland sue drugmakers over opioid surge

CLEVELAND (AP) — County officials in Cleveland are suing several large prescription drug companies saying they intentionally misled the public about the dangers of opioids.

The lawsuit filed Friday by Cuyahoga County says the drugmakers and distributors sought to increase sales of painkillers and contributed to the opioid abuse crisis.

The complaint names some of the largest companies in the pharmaceutical industry. The lawsuit also accuses four doctors of downplaying the risk of prescription opioids in research funded by the drug companies.

The companies have denied wrongdoing in response to similar lawsuits filed around the country.

More than 540 people fatally overdosed on opioids last year in Cuyahoga County. The county Medical Examiner’s Office estimates close to 800 could die this year.

The suit seeks an undisclosed amount of damages.

Proposal to release some grand jury records open for comment

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The public can submit comments on a proposed rule change that could lead to some Ohio grand jury records being released to the public.

The Columbus Dispatch reports a task force appointed by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor in the wake of police shootings recommended the rule change last year concerning secret grand jury proceedings.

The aim of the task force was to increase the public’s confidence in the grand jury system following fatal police shootings of blacks that resulted in no criminal charges against officers.

The change would allow members of the public to petition a court to open records of grand jury proceedings.

The Supreme Court has until mid-January to decide whether to submit the change to the Ohio Legislature for approval.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to speak at Ohio college

OXFORD, Ohio (AP) — Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is speaking at a southwest Ohio university this week.

Wozniak is scheduled to speak at Miami University at 7 p.m. Monday as part of the 2017 Anderson Distinguished Lecture Series. The event is open to the public.

Wozniak helped create Apple’s first two personal computer models. His work with the late Steve Jobs launched Apple on its way to becoming one of the most influential technology companies in the world.

Wozniak is working on the launch of an online technology education platform called Woz U. Wozniak says he hopes to include software engineering, information technology and cybersecurity courses in the program.

Workers at Fuyao auto glass plant in Ohio set union election

MORAINE, Ohio (AP) — Workers for a Chinese glass maker in southwest Ohio will vote on union representation next month.

The Dayton Daily News reports employees of Fuyao Glass America Inc. facility in Moraine have agreed with the United Auto Workers to vote on unionization Nov. 8 and 9.

Workers have cited a pattern of unsafe workplace conditions, arbitrary policies and unfair treatment on the job. Safety regulators at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration repeatedly found unsafe working conditions at the plant after it started operations in 2015.

A group of Republican state lawmakers published an open letter last week expressing concerns with “outside forces trying to come into Fuyao.”

Some Ohio Democrats have previously spoken out in support of Fuyao workers unionizing.

Board postpones hearing on Lake Erie wind farm

CLEVELAND (AP) — A state board has postponed a hearing to consider plans for a Lake Erie wind farm.

The Ohio Power Siting Board says it postponed the scheduled Nov. 17 meeting so more information can be gathered about how the wind farm’s impact will be monitored.

A new date for the hearing hasn’t been set.

Plans call for developers to build six wind turbines in Lake Erie about 8 to 10 miles (13-16 kilometers) off Cleveland.

The siting board says a Nov. 8 public hearing at Cleveland City Hall will be held as scheduled.

Officials: No health concerns after fire at former landfill

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland officials say air quality tests done at a former landfill that caught fire don’t show any health concerns for nearby residents.

Firefighters from several communities responded to the former Arco Recycling facility in East Cleveland early Saturday after reports of smoke. It took hours to get the fire under control.

Officials issued a statement saying as a precaution they sent staff to install air quality monitoring equipment at the site and in the surrounding community. They say none of the results showed any cause for concern.

The city has been working with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to oversee the cleanup and removal of material from the landfill. The Ohio EPA has allocated more than $6 million for the work.

Ohio man pleads guilty to raping woman, young daughter

ZANESVILLE, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man has pleaded guilty to raping a young girl and her mother who prosecutors say dismissed her daughter’s complaint about being sexually abused and was then raped by the same man several months later.

The Zanesville Times Recorder reports 34-year-old Sean Payton, of Zanesville, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of rape.

A Muskingum County prosecutor says a 10-year-old girl asked a neighbor in June to convince her mother that Payton had sexually abused her after the mother refused to believe her.

Assistant Prosecutor John Litle said the mother didn’t call police but the neighbor did, prompting an investigation. Litle says Payton raped the mother in August while her daughter’s rape was being investigated.

Payton was indicted Wednesday. Court records don’t indicate whether he has an attorney.