Ohio News Briefs

Study: Public-school students test better than voucher users

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A new study says Ohio students who moved to private schools under a state-funded scholarships program tended to perform significantly worse on state reading and math tests compared to similar students who stayed in public schools.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the study released on Thursday by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute reviewed student test data from the 2003-04 to 2012-13 school years.

It compared students who used vouchers under the state’s $94.6 million EdChoice program to similar peers who stayed in voucher-eligible public schools.

The report says public school students who qualified for a voucher but didn’t use one saw “modest” improvements in achievement.

A state Department of Education spokeswoman says competition created by the program benefits schools and motivates everyone to work harder to meet students’ needs.

Man pleads guilty to plotting attack on government officials

CINCINNATI (AP) — The government says an Ohio man has pleaded guilty to plotting attacks against a U.S. military official and a local police station.

Documents unsealed Thursday say Munir Abdulkader of West Chester in southwestern Ohio was arrested in May 2015 and pleaded guilty in March.

Charging documents say Abdulkader pleaded guilty to attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States, material support of a foreign terrorist organization and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime.

Sentencing was set for October. A message was left with Abdulkader’s attorney seeking comment on the guilty plea.

Investigators say Abdulkader communicated with a member of the Islamic State and plotted to abduct and kill a military employee and attack a police station that was not identified.

Senate Majority PAC spending $2.5M in Ohio against Portman

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A group fighting for a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate has launched another round of ads in hotly contested Ohio.

Senate Majority PAC began its $2.5 million effort Thursday against Sen. Rob Portman, the Republican incumbent. The first in a series of spots criticizes Portman for supporting Social Security privatization. His campaign has said such attacks misrepresent his position.

The ads are set to run in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Toledo and Youngstown through July 18.

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, is challenging Portman in one of the nation’s tightest and most closely watched Senate races.

Strickland has failed to come close to his fundraising goals and Senate Majority PAC has reservations to spend about $10 million on his behalf.

A third of Cleveland police will have GOP convention duties

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland’s police chief says about a third of the city’s officers will be assigned to duties related to the Republican National Convention during the event this month.

In a Wednesday letter, Chief Calvin Williams says remaining officers will staff neighborhood districts and specialized units. The department has about 1,200 patrol officers and 300 supervisors.

Williams says Cleveland police are partnering with agencies from throughout the country to ensure there’s an adequate law enforcement presence for the event, which is expected to draw up to 50,000 people.

He says Cleveland officers have gone through comprehensive training and trained with partnering agencies to ensure they follow high standards.

The police union has repeatedly raised concerns that officers aren’t fully prepared and equipped to deal with the challenges of such a massive event.

Man, 36, sentenced for 2014 boat accident that killed woman

DELAWARE, Ohio (AP) — A central Ohio man has been sentenced to 30 days behind bars in the death of a 19-year-old woman who died after being hit by a boat in 2014.

The Columbus Dispatch reports a Delaware County judge handed down the sentence on Wednesday against 36-year-old Andrew Lehman after he pleaded no contest to failure to avoid a collision.

Authorities say Morgan Montgomery fell while water-skiing on Alum Creek Reservoir and was hit by the speed boat Lehman was driving. He denied hitting Montgomery but witnesses and evidence proved it was his boat that hit her.

State watercraft officials called Montgomery’s death a freak accident.

Montgomery was a church counselor from Australia and was with a church group when the incident happened.

Police see spike in trespassers at abandoned amusement park

AURORA, Ohio (AP) — Police are warning would-be trespassers not to set foot in an abandoned northeast Ohio amusement park after a spike in arrests at the site this year.

Bainbridge Township Sgt. Frank Chickos tells WEWS-TV they’ve cited 46 people so far this year with trespassing at the former Geauga Lake amusement park.

He says a lot of the trespassers have been caught climbing on top of an old roller coaster that he says is basically a big piece of rotting wood. Chickos fears someone is going to fall through a piece of broken wood and get hurt.

Police have arrested a handful of trespassers since the park shut down in 2007. But that number has increased sharply since drone footage of the park was posted on the internet earlier this year.

Ohio asks judge to force Corps to dredge shipping channel

CLEVELAND (AP) — Ohio officials and the Cuyahoga County Port Authority are asking a federal judge to force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fully dredge the Cleveland Harbor and Cuyahoga River shipping channel.

Cleveland.com reports Wednesday’s motion says the Corps is proposing to dump harmful sediment into Lake Erie and demanding that a “non-federal sponsor” pay for dumping the dredging material into a disposal facility.

The Corps has argued that dumping the sediment into Lake Erie is safe and cost-effective. But the state says the material is polluted and harmful to the waterway.

The state says dredging delays can seriously harm business and a single severe storm this year could make the channel unnavigable.

A Corps spokesman said Thursday that the Corps doesn’t comment on pending or ongoing lawsuits.