Ohio News Briefs

Ohio city plans lawsuit to stop gas pipeline construction

CLEVELAND (AP) — Officials in a northeast Ohio city say they’re planning to file a lawsuit aimed at stopping a high-pressure natural gas pipeline from being built in their community because of the economic and environmental damage the pipeline will cause.

The Green City Council in Summit County on Tuesday authorized spending $100,000 to hire a Cleveland law firm.

The council previously gave $10,000 to a citizens group also planning a lawsuit to stop the NEXUS pipeline.

A Green spokeswoman said Wednesday she couldn’t identify the targets of the city’s lawsuit.

A partnership between a Canadian and Detroit company wants to spend $2 billion to build a 255-mile-long pipeline to transport gas from Appalachia across northern Ohio and into Michigan.

The company didn’t immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment Wednesday.

Suspected Zika case puts Ohio neighborhood on mosquito alert

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — A suspected case of Zika virus has health officials urging a western Ohio neighborhood to take precautions against mosquitoes, which can spread the virus to people.

The Springfield News-Sun reports the Clark County Combined Health District is awaiting test results for a man who had symptoms of the virus after visiting a Zika hot spot that officials aren’t naming.

District Commissioner Charles Patterson says results could take weeks, so officials are urging precautions in the meantime. They asked the man to remain indoors and take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes if he goes outside. Neighbors were asked to empty any outdoor containers with standing water to prevent further mosquito breeding.

Patterson says it’s Ohio’s third suspected Zika case this year. Ohio had 95 last year.

Family, friends of fallen Ohio soldier honoring him

KETTERING, Ohio (AP) — Family and friends of an Ohio soldier killed in Afghanistan last week are gathering this week to honor him.

The Dayton Daily News reports a candlelight Wednesday night for Sgt. Cameron Thomas and a “celebration of life” this Sunday are being held in Kettering, about 50 miles north of Cincinnati.

Thomas graduated from a high school in Kettering in 2012. He was one of two Army Rangers killed in a raid on an Islamic State compound in Afghanistan.

The military is investigating to see if they were accidentally killed by ground fire from Afghan commandos or other American forces.

Thomas’ father said his 23-year-old son was due home on leave in a few weeks and had planned to visit his family, now living in Rixeyville, Virginia.

Ohio legislator pleads no contest to impaired driving

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A state lawmaker from southwest Ohio who was accused of impaired driving has pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge.

Republican Rep. Wes Retherford, of Hamilton, said Wednesday in court that he “made a mistake” and regrets it.

He received a six-month jail sentence, all suspended except for three days of alcohol intervention. He gives up his license to carry a concealed weapon.

He was arrested March 12 after someone reported a man passed out behind the wheel at a McDonald’s drive-thru. Deputies said they found a loaded handgun inside the car.

Police initially charged Retherford with improperly handling a firearm in a vehicle, a felony that could have resulted in his automatic ouster from the Legislature. But a grand jury later declined to indict him on that count.

About 5,500 Ohio students may cancel loans for defunct chain

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state attorney general says nearly 5,500 people in Ohio are eligible to cancel federal student loans that they used to attend schools operated by a for-profit chain that abruptly ceased operations in 2015.

The Corinthian Colleges group sold or closed its more than 100 campuses amid allegations of fraud and misrepresenting the success of its graduates. Its schools included Everest Institute, Heald College and WyoTech.

The state says letters being sent to eligible attendees in Ohio will explain how they can apply for loan cancellation with the U.S. Department of Education.

Attorney General Mike DeWine says that means qualifying applicants wouldn’t have to make further payments on their loans and would be refunded what they already have paid.

Ohio man’s mom tells police she’s sorry cop had to kill him

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — Police in southwest Ohio say the mother of a man who charged at an officer with a butcher knife and was killed said she wasn’t surprised and was sorry that the officer had to shoot her son.

A grand jury concluded no charges should be filed against the officer who killed 24-year-old Michael Wilson-Salzl. Investigators say Wilson-Salzl had a history of mental illness.

Authorities say he called in a false report about gunfire outside his Hamilton apartment complex on April 22, then charged at a responding officer with a knife while wearing a black mask.

Police said Tuesday that Wilson-Salzl had tried something similar a year earlier, falsely reporting gunfire and then holding wood taped to look like a gun as police responded. In that case, officers talked him down.

Voters pick candidates for general election in Ohio

CINCINNATI (AP) — The incumbent mayor of Cincinnati will face off against a city councilwoman in the November mayoral election.

Councilwoman Yvette Simpson was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s primary with 45 percent of the vote, followed by fellow Democrat and incumbent John Cranley with 34 percent. Former University of Cincinnati board chairman Rob Richardson was eliminated after securing only 20 percent of the vote. There were no Republicans in the nonpartisan race.

Also Tuesday, Jamael Tito Brown won the Democratic primary for mayor of Youngstown, beating incumbent John McNally. McNally had narrowly defeated Brown in the 2013 primary.

Some voters had tax levies and other local measures to consider Tuesday.

Cleveland and Toledo have mayor primaries in September.

Man wrongly arrested in Ohio car theft gets $75K settlement

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Toledo officials have approved a $75,000 settlement for a man who accused police of using unnecessary force when they wrongly arrested him in a car theft as he stopped at a McDonald’s.

Duquette Matthews’ lawsuit said he was in his car picking up food in April 2014 when an officer opened his car door and handcuffed him in a confrontation that injured Matthews’ shoulder. He says he was later lifted off the ground and freed when another officer recognized that he wasn’t the suspect.

The suit alleges police released him with no explanation or apology.

Police say Matthews’ car was similar to a stolen one. A spokesman tells The Blade that the officers acted reasonably and stopped once they recognized the mistake.

Toledo City Council approved the settlement Tuesday.

Sheriff’s deputy on unpaid leave after student’s allegation

GALLOWAY, Ohio (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy who worked at an Ohio high school has been placed on unpaid leave and removed from the school after an unspecified allegation from a student.

Marc Gofstein, a spokesman for the Franklin County sheriff, said the department was notified two weeks of a situation involving a school resource officer and female student at Westland High School in Galloway. He declined to identify the deputy or say what he is accused of doing.

Gofstein said the department immediately began an investigation and removed the deputy from the school. The deputy has been on unpaid leave since the allegations were raised.

Another sheriff’s deputy has been assigned to the school.

Former Lt. Gov. named dean of Cleveland State law school

CLEVELAND (AP) — A former Ohio lieutenant governor will become the permanent leader of Cleveland State University’s law school after serving as interim dean for nearly a year.

The school announced Tuesday that Lee Fisher was selected to lead the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law after a nationwide search.

Fisher was appointed to the interim position in June 2016 after the former dean, Craig Boise, left to take the top job at Syracuse University’s law school.

Fischer, a Democrat, was Ohio’s lieutenant governor from 2007 to 2011 under Gov. Ted Strickland. Prior to that, he was state attorney general from 1991 to 1995. He also served as a state senator and representative.

Ohio fire marshal retiring after 6 years in that role

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s top fire official is retiring after six years in that role.

The state Department of Commerce says State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers will celebrate his retirement on Friday, the day before he turns 65.

He was appointed fire marshal in 2011 by Gov. John Kasich after serving as a state lawmaker. He previously led the Madison Township Fire Department in Franklin County.

The division says a new fire marshal will be chosen by the Department of Commerce director, based on recommendations from the State Fire Council.

In the meantime, Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey is expected lead the division on an interim basis.

The division is responsible for fire safety education, regulation, investigation and enforcement, and training firefighters.