Ohio News Briefs

Ohio committee to review unemployment compensation system

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A new committee of state lawmakers has been tapped to review Ohio’s unemployment compensation system.

Legislative leaders announced the joint panel of senators and representatives on Monday. They say its members will see whether the jobless benefits system for workers is sustainable and determine if any solvency issues should be addressed.

Senate President Keith Faber and House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger say the group will emphasize getting input from labor groups, businesses and Ohio’s workforce. They say the committee will help craft legislation to be considered this fall.

The panel of six appointed Republicans and two appointed Democrats is slated to have its first meeting Aug. 25.

The committee is being co-chaired by two Republicans, Sen. Bob Peterson of Washington Court House and Rep. Kirk Schuring of Canton.

Court invalidates signatures for Ohio drug-price proposal

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a proposal aimed at controlling prescription drug prices lacks enough valid signatures to meet the state’s requirements, and backers must collect more for it to move ahead.

The court said Monday that roughly 10,000 signatures submitted by supporters of the Drug Price Relief Act were erroneously validated, and more than 5,000 signatures are now needed for the initiated statute.

The court says backers have until Aug. 25 to collect those signatures. Then the proposal could be resubmitted to the General Assembly.

Opponents including the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America had challenged the signature petitions.

The proposal aims to keep state entities from buying drugs at prices higher than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays.

Lawmaker to resign, become director of Ohio’s funeral board

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The speaker of the Ohio House says a lawmaker will resign his seat to become director of the state funeral board.

Republican Rep. Tim Derickson represents much of southwest Ohio’s Butler County. A statement announcing his appointment to lead the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors says his resignation from the House is expected Sunday.

His fourth term would expire in December, and he wasn’t eligible to run for another term.

The funeral board’s previous director resigned in July, months after suing a board member, alleging harassment and discrimination. Separately, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office determined the board authorized that director to practice law without a license by letting her negotiate violation settlements. Her attorney argues such a determination is up to Ohio’s high court, not the attorney general.

Ohio city aims to help cops, firefighters blocked by trains

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A small Ohio city where trains sometimes block responders during emergencies will reopen an old fire station on the other side of the tracks while trying to find funding for an overpass above one of the city’s 19 rail crossings.

Circleville officials plan to open up the second fire station by the end of the year. It will have a small crew, with one ambulance and one engine.

Mayor Don McIlroy tells The Columbus Dispatch that Norfolk Southern wants to close some of the crossings, which would require it to compensate the city.

Officials say the closure of the crossings would free up federal money that could go toward the overpass.

McIlroy says he plans to ask state lawmakers to help him secure funding in the fall.

Ohio workers escape from dangling high-rise scaffolding

CINCINNATI (AP) — Emergency responders have converged at a high-rise building with a dangling scaffolding in downtown Cincinnati.

Authorities say two workers were able to climb off the scaffolding. A Cincinnati police spokesman says they were able to “self-rescue” and reached a lower roof area. Witnesses said Tuesday they appeared to be at least 20 stories up.

Police closed the street at the building near Fountain Square during the noon hour because of concerns the scaffolding could break free completely or that windows could be broken.

It wasn’t known immediately what kind of work was being done when the scaffolding came partly loose.

Financial adviser in Ohio charged with stealing over $500K

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A financial adviser accused of stealing more than a half-million dollars from an 81-year-old client’s account has been indicted in Ohio on felony charges.

A Franklin County grand jury on Monday indicted 62-year-old Jon Bret Schmidhammer, of the Columbus suburb of Dublin, on one count of theft from a person in a protected class and one count of unlawful securities practices. Court records don’t list an attorney for Schmidhammer and no phone listing for him could be found.

County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says Schmidhammer was financial adviser to the woman. O’Brien says Schmidhammer transferred more than $500,000 from the woman’s investment accounts to her bank accounts from January 2014 to July 2016 and wrote checks to himself or paid personal bills with those funds.

FBI: Man shot woman repeatedly, left blinded victim in park

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A man suspected of repeatedly shooting a woman in the head and leaving the blinded victim in a northeast Ohio park has been charged with attempted murder.

The FBI announced Monday that 27-year-old Dezay Ely is accused of shooting an 18-year-old woman three times on July 3 in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Todd Wickerham tells WEWS-TV that Ely knows the victim, but they’re still trying to figure out the motive.

The Akron man, also known as “Scrap,” also faces a charge of discharging a firearm and made his first court appearance on Friday. He’s due back in court on Aug. 19.

Ely has been in custody since mid-July on a post-release violation.

Cleveland.com reports the man’s public defender declined to comment.

Dump truck hits, kills construction worker in northeast Ohio

AVON, Ohio (AP) — A construction worker is dead after police say he was struck by a dump truck in northeast Ohio.

Avon police say the worker was directing a dump truck as it was backing up in a construction zone when he was hit around 2 p.m. Monday. Jaycox Road in the area of the incident was closed for about four hours.

Authorities didn’t immediately release the worker’s identity or the name of the construction company the man worked for.