Ohio News Briefs


Camera firm agrees to settlement, avoids federal prosecution

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Arizona traffic camera enforcement company has agreed to pay restitution to Columbus and Chicago in a deal to avoid further federal prosecution.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday the agreement with Phoenix-based Redflex citing the company’s help in prosecuting those involved in a bribery scheme.

The agreement calls for Redflex to pay Columbus $100,000.

Redflex’ former CEO Karen Finley and former Columbus lobbyist John Raphael received federal prison sentences for their roles in a scheme involving Raphael extorting money he used to make campaign donations to Columbus officials and to state and local Democratic parties. No Columbus officials were implicated in the scheme.

Columbus used Redflex enforcement cameras from 2005 until March 2015.

A lawsuit will determine the amount paid to Chicago.

Police: Vandals damage inflatable golf dome in central Ohio

WHITEHALL, Ohio (AP) — An air-filled dome that shelters golfers at the Four Seasons Golf Center in central Ohio has been damaged by vandals for the second time in a little over a month.

The Columbus Dispatch reports police were dispatched to the Whitehall facility just after 11 a.m. on Christmas Day after the dome’s deflation alarm was triggered.

Officers at the scene discovered that someone cut a 15- to 20-foot slit in the dome, which covers a driving range open year-round.

Owner Brian Ashley estimates the vandals caused $80,000 in damage. He says the dome should be back up by the weekend.

Police say eight juveniles caused at least $10,000 in damage on Thanksgiving after they cut three holes into the dome and took a golf cart out on a joyride.

Gas prices in Ohio up again ahead of New Year’s holiday

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio drivers are seeing gas prices higher than a week ago as they head toward the New Year’s weekend.

A gallon of regular gas in Ohio was averaging $2.37 in Wednesday’s survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That’s up 9 cents from a week ago and well above the state average from a year ago, which was about $1.89.

The national average for regular fuel was $2.29 on Wednesday, up 4 cents from a week earlier. The national average at this time last year was $2.00.

Average gas prices increased in recent weeks following the OPEC agreement in late November to cut production beginning in January.

SW Ohio city mourns firefighter 1 year after arson death

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A southwest Ohio city is remembering a fallen firefighter one year after he died fighting a house fire later determined to have been intentionally set.

Colleagues of Patrick Wolterman laid a wreath in his honor Wednesday at a monument to firefighters in downtown Hamilton. There was also a moment of silence.

Wolterman died after crashing through a floor last Dec. 28. It was the first death of a Hamilton firefighter in the line of duty since 1971.

Fellow firefighters say they’re still struggling in the aftermath of his death. The memorial service was considered another way to help them heal.

A Butler County judge has scheduled the property owner’s trial on murder and aggravated arson charges for Feb. 21. Sixty-six-year-old Lester Parker has pleaded not guilty.

Cleveland bishop retires; Toledo bishop will oversee NE Ohio

CLEVELAND (AP) — The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is retiring because of health concerns, and the bishop in Toledo will take over administration of the diocese until a successor is named.

Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon said Wednesday that he decided to step down after being diagnosed with dementia.

The diocese says Pope Francis accepted Lennon’s resignation sent in a letter a month ago and granted him early retirement status.

Lennon has served as bishop in Cleveland since 2006, leading a diocese that includes more than 690,000 Catholics across eight counties.

He notably ordered the closings of 12 parishes but was overruled by the Vatican in 2012 in a rare move.

The pope has appointed Toledo Bishop Daniel Thomas to oversee the Cleveland diocese until a new bishop is named.

Ohio officer’s stolen bagpipes are found along Kentucky road

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Cincinnati-area honor guard member whose bagpipes were stolen from his vehicle after a vigil has the instrument back after a mail carrier found it along a road in nearby northern Kentucky.

Someone stole the instrument Monday night in Cincinnati’s Mount Adams neighborhood. It was found Tuesday night in Southgate, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

Mariemont police officer Steve Watt says he’s ecstatic to have the bagpipes back.

Watt is a member of the Hamilton County Honor Guard. He used borrowed bagpipes to play at a vigil Tuesday.

He says several irreplaceable personal mementos that he kept in the bagpipe case are still missing, including a note from the 2015 funeral of slain Cincinnati police Officer Sonny Kim.

Akron father gets 8 years for scalding 4-month-old daughter

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — An 18-year-old northeast Ohio man will serve eight years in prison for injuring his 4-month-old daughter when he intentionally submerged her in scalding water.

Demetrius Ford was sentenced Tuesday in Summit County Common Pleas Court after he was convicted of felonious assault and two counts of child endangering in November.

Prosecutors say Ford was bathing his daughter in February when he dunked her in hot water and she suffered burns to her face. Investigators also concluded that the girl sustained a skull fracture and several broken ribs.

The Akron man was 17 at the time of the incident. He was tried as an adult.

Chavelle Grier, the child’s 21-year-old mother, was placed on probation in June for her role in her daughter’s injuries.