Ohio News Briefs


Settlement reached for teacher fired after Facebook post

SYLVANIA, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio school district has reached a settlement after a substitute teacher said he was fired after making a political statement on Facebook.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio says Sylvania Schools near Toledo has agreed to pay $8,400 in damages and legal fees for teacher Derek Ide.

Ide says he was fired following his comments criticizing a South Carolina deputy seen on video pulling a teenager from her school desk and tossing her across the floor.

The school first said Ide was fired for his performance, but the school in the settlement agreed to say that the firing didn’t reflect on his teaching performance.

The Blade newspaper reports Ide has agreed not to apply for a position within the Sylvania district during the next two school years.

Police in Ohio’s capital seek suspect after gunfire

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio’s capital say they are seeking a man who got away after firing at police.

Columbus Police say an officer returned fire early Sunday, but it’s not believed that the suspect was hit.

Police say officers on routine patrol began following a vehicle at 1:44 a.m. EST. They say the driver began to operate the vehicle recklessly, and it then went over a curb. Police say two people fled from the vehicle on foot and officers gave chase to the driver.

They say he fired at the officers while he was running through a backyard. No injuries were reported.

Police say a U.S. Marshals’ canine has been used in the search.

Ohio offers motorcycle rider education

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Online registration is beginning for Ohio’s motorcycle rider education programs.

People who want to learn how to ride a motorcycle or take a refresher on safety can sign up starting Monday for $50 courses scheduled around the state from March through November.

The state Department of Public Safety says more than 250,000 riders have been trained since 1988.

There is a 16-hour course for novice riders. There is also an eight-hour program for experienced riders who are returning to motorcycles or riders 18 and older who have been riding with a temporary permit for more than a year.

Motorcycles and helmets are provided.

Information: www.motorcycle.ohio.gov

ID quiz continues as Ohio tax season opens

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Department of Taxation will continue to use an identity-confirmation quiz introduced in 2015 during the new income-tax filing season opening Monday.

The department says the quiz helps catch phony income-tax returns in an environment where cybercrimes are a risk. A spokesman says 1.8 million people took the quiz in 2015 and 712,000 last year.

Commissioner Joe Testa says the quiz adds to increased awareness among taxpayers, tax preparers, financial institutions and government tax agencies to help repel cyber criminals.

This year, Ohio taxpayers also will be asked to provide driver’s license or state ID-card information for the primary taxpayer, and spouse if married filing jointly, to help combat identity theft. Taxpayers without such identification are still allowed to file electronically.

Taxpayer assistance is available online or at 1-800-282-1780.

Charge dropped against man who burned flag at RNC in Ohio

CLEVELAND (AP) — The man whose case led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the burning of the American flag being protected by free speech no longer faces a misdemeanor assault charge over another flag-burning at last summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Cleveland.com reports court filings show prosecutors last week dropped the charge against Gregory “Joey” Johnson. A city spokesman didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

The 60-year-old San Francisco man was arrested after he set an American flag on fire during a July 20 protest near an RNC security entrance.

Johnson’s attorney says the charges were politically motivated.

Johnson’s torching of a flag at a GOP convention three decades ago led to the landmark 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said flag-burning is protected by the First Amendment.

6 Ohio crime lab employees disciplined

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation has suspended five employees and fired another who worked at state crime labs.

The disciplinary actions followed an investigation into the six employees after an internal review found mistakes in how scientists were recording drug tests they performed. Five were at the Richfield lab, with one at the Bowling Green crime lab.

BCI Superintendent Thomas Strickrath said Friday that the issues didn’t compromise any criminal investigations. However, he says there is “zero tolerance” for policy and procedure violations for people who are analyzing evidence in a crime lab.

He said BCI has revised the testing protocol for drug cases to ensure proper documentation, and has put in place ethics training and remedial case documentation training.

Former Ohio State president fulfills scholarship pledge

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The former president of Ohio State University is making good on a years-old pledge he made to donate $1 million for a scholarship fund at the school.

The Columbus Dispatch reports records show that four separate gifts made in December that total about $200,000 brought the fund to just over $984,144. Projections show that transferring $16,614 of earned interest to the fund’s principal by June 30 will bring it to just over $1 million.

Gordon Gee made the pledge in 2009 during his second tenure at Ohio State and made several gifts between then and December 2012. He continued to give after he retired from OSU in 2013 and became West Virginia University’s president in 2014.

A university spokesman says the school is “grateful” for Gee’s generosity.

Data: Number of Ohio charter schools dropped for 3rd year

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Department of Education statistics show the number of charter schools in the state dropped in 2016 for the third straight year, and the number of students attending the schools also decreased.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the department’s charter directory lists 362 charters, which is down 8.4 percent from its peak of 395 in the 2013-14 school year.

The agency’s Annual Report on Community Schools shows the number of charter students is down from its peak of 120,893 full-time-equivalent students in the 2013-14 school year to 117,126 last school year.

Experts say changes in state law designed to weed out low-quality charters are likely contributing to the slowdown in charter growth.

A $71 million federal startup grant for charters soon will be available.

Some Ohio colleges won’t act on state’s concealed carry law

CLEVELAND (AP) — Officials at some public and private colleges in Ohio won’t take action on a new state law that allows permit holders to carry a concealed firearm on campus.

Under the bill signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich last month, firearms are allowed only if a college’s board of trustees agrees to allow concealed carry on campus.

A Cleveland.com survey of every private and two-year college in northeast Ohio and every public university in the state found that officials at several schools don’t plan to take further action.

The law that takes effect March 19 maintains the current prohibition preventing concealed handguns on any property owned or leased by a public or private higher education institution unless it’s locked in a motor vehicle.