Ohio News Briefs


Secret Santa pays nearly $5K in layaways at Ohio Wal-Mart

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — A Secret Santa has paid off nearly $5,000 in shoppers’ layaways at a southwest Ohio Wal-Mart store.

Store manager Darren Dooley tells the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News the anonymous Santa paid off layaway items at a Wal-Mart store in Middletown last week. He did the same thing last year as well.

Dooley says he knows the person’s identity, but that he doesn’t want it revealed.

“People are ecstatic when they come in to make their final payoff,” Dooley said. “It’s really overwhelming to them and they are very grateful.”

Dooley says layaways have also been paid at other Wal-Mart stores in the region.

Ceceli Abernathy was told the Secret Santa had paid off her $50 deficit for toys she purchased for her daughter at a Wal-Mart in Dayton. The Kettering woman called it a beautiful gesture.

“I’m blown away right now,” Abernathy said. “I can’t believe it. That is amazing. You really filled my heart with a lot of love.”

Police in Ohio’s capital probe 100th homicide of 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio’s capital are investigating their 100th homicide case of the year.

Columbus police say they were called Saturday night about a 19-year-old man who was taken privately to a hospital suffering from a gunshot wound. They say the man died soon afterward.

He has been identified as Shai-Kee Shikary Ray Allen. Police said early Sunday they had no suspects and weren’t aware of a motive.

The Columbus Dispatch reports this is the most homicides in the city since 2010, when there were 105.

Toledo may allow golf carts on some city streets

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Toledo is considering allowing golf carts on city streets in at least two neighborhoods.

City council members are looking at permitting golf carts and other low-speed vehicles to be used in one neighborhood along Lake Erie and another near downtown.

City leaders say the idea could be expanded to other neighborhoods if it’s successful.

The program would begin next April and golf cart owners would only be allowed to travel on streets where the posted speed limit is 25 mph or less.

A few cities and several resort-type communities around Ohio already allow golf carts on city streets.

Under Ohio law, golf carts may be legal within specific parameters and with safety features added. They must be titled, licensed and insured like any other vehicle.

Ohio elections chief: No state money needed to run office

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s Republican elections chief says his office doesn’t need state tax money for the next two years because of what he’s calling “wise financial management” over the last six years.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Secretary of State Jon Husted has proposed operating on a $36 million biennial budget using money remaining from this fiscal year and revenue from business services.

Husted says that’s a spending cut of nearly $5 million over the next two fiscal years. The General Assembly must approve the plan.

Husted reduced spending in his office in his first term by nearly $15 million. He reduced staffing from 190 to 130.

Husted says they’re providing better services and spending less money. He says the savings can be used for tax cuts, education and workforce development.

State OKs release of $1.3M for Buckeye Lake dam project

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A panel that oversees state spending has approved the release of $1.3 million for design work and other pre-construction activities involving plans to replace a deteriorated central Ohio dam.

The state Controlling Board recently approved the release for the Buckeye Lake dam rehabilitation project.

Buckeye Lake’s 4.1-mile earthen dam is nearly 180 years old. Several hundred homes, docks and other structures built into it have weakened it. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded the dam was at risk of failing.

The earthen dam received interim safety improvements. Work scheduled to begin in March includes replacing it with a new dam.

The Columbus Dispatch reports state officials say they’ll let water levels rise so boating can resume during construction.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

Police: Husband kills wife after overnight argument

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — Ohio police say a Middletown man has been arrested in the shooting death of his wife.

Police say Greg Orona Jr. faces a murder charge in the death Saturday morning of 42-year-old Cassie Sanders at their home.

Police say in a news release that the two were arguing Friday night and their argument continued into the next morning. Police responded to a report of a shooting about 9 a.m. Saturday.

Middletown detectives spoke to several others who were in the home at the time and were told the couple had a history of domestic issues. Orona was jailed in the city jail.

WCPO-TV reports he is to appear in court for arraignment Monday.