Ohio News Briefs


Ohio cities can go outside limits for planning board members

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio cities are now able to look beyond their own borders to fill seats on municipal planning commissions.

An amendment allowing the limited appointment of nonresidents to planning boards was included in the state budget bill.

State Sen. Bob Peterson, a Republican from Washington Court House, has told The Times Gazette of Hillsboro the suggestion to expand eligibility for commission membership came from Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings, who said more flexibility was needed to find viable candidates.

Hastings says there are many good candidates who work in Hillsboro or are involved with the city but live elsewhere.

Peterson calls it a “perfect example” of a proposal starting at the local level and ultimately becoming state law.

‘17 Ohio State Fair tickets see new print, mobile options

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Visitors to this summer’s Ohio State Fair will be able for the first time to print discounted advance tickets and ride-all-day wristbands at home or have them delivered to a mobile device.

The state fair featuring agricultural exhibits, entertainment, food, shopping, rides and other attractions runs July 26 to Aug. 6.

The new remote option allows fairgoers to purchase tickets for $6 through Aug. 6 and wristbands for $20 through July 25 only. General admission is $10 at the gate. Children ages 5 to 12 and senior citizens pay $8. Children under 5 are free. Wristbands cost $25 on site.

Gates are open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Rides are open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and until midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

Ohio city cleaning up after damaging floods

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — Residents in a northern Ohio city are cleaning up basements and belongings after dealing with another damaging flood.

The Courier reports the Blanchard River at Findlay crested at 16.5 feet (5.meters) Friday and has been receding since then. The river was at 11.4 feet (3.5 meters) early Sunday, just slightly above minor flood stage level.

It was the fifth-highest crest on record for the river at Findlay.

The flooding occurred after the area received between 3 and 5 inches of rain Wednesday.

Floodwater still covered a few Findlay streets Saturday night. The Findlay Fire Department evacuated a number of people from flooded homes and rescued stranded motorists the previous two days

Parts of central Ohio also saw flooding last week from torrential downpours, prompting evacuations and emergency shelters opening.

Asian beetle species continues infestation of Ohio woodlands

BATAVIA, Ohio (AP) — State officials have expanded a quarantine to stop the invasive Asian longhorn beetle from spreading across Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced last week it was enlarging Clermont County’s quarantine area. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the expanded area is 62 square miles (160 sq. kilometers) and includes 576 acres in the East Fork Wildlife Area.

Removal of firewood, branches and other wood is prohibited in quarantined areas to stop beetles and their larvae from spreading.

The beetles were first discovered in Clermont County’s Tate Township in 2011 and can infest a variety of trees.

Infestations are addressed primarily through the removal of host trees, which can result in the stripping of large woodland areas.

A Clermont County man lost 700 trees on his 85-acre property in 2012.

City wants to demolish Ohio house where bodies were found

ASHLAND, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio city wants to demolish a house where two women’s bodies were found and an alleged serial killer was arrested.

The (Ashland) Times-Gazette reports officials in Ashland recently applied for federal grant money to raze the home deemed uninhabitable because of the slayings.

Forty-year-old Shawn Grate pleaded not guilty in October to aggravated murder and kidnapping charges in the deaths of 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith and 43-year-old Stacey Stanley. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

A trial has been scheduled for November in Ashland County.

The women’s bodies were found last September inside a supposedly unoccupied home after a third woman called 911 from a bedroom and said Grate was holding her hostage. Grate has told police he killed two other women elsewhere.

Dislike for rival Michigan gives family hope for recovery

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man who returned to the U.S. comatose after suffering a traumatic brain injury from a car accident has given his family hope by making clear his dislike for the whole state of Michigan.

The Columbus Dispatch reports doctors thought 38-year-old Zach Lawrence had little chance of waking up when he returned to Columbus in April after the accident in the Republic of Georgia.

Four months later, when asked to press a “yes” or “no” button about whether he liked Michigan, the lifelong Ohio State fan hit “no” twice to his family’s delight.

Lawrence’s wife, Meghan, credits Ohio State University’s Dodd Hall Rehabilitation Center for his unexpected progress.

The startup consultant raised in Reynoldsburg has begun making sounds, keeping his eyes open and smiling at his children.

Ohio public safety agency partners with neighbors network

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s public safety department is partnering with a popular social network for neighborhoods.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety says it’s the first statewide agency in the Midwest and the third nationally to partner with the Nextdoor app.

The department joins nearly 80 other local Ohio agencies on the platform including the Cincinnati and Columbus police departments.

Nextdoor allows people in individual neighborhoods to share public safety issues, community events and activities, pose questions about local services, and even look for lost pets.

The Public Safety department will share news and updates on Nextdoor and communicate with residents before, during and after an emergency.

University of Cincinnati to study trafficking of children

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The University of Cincinnati will collaborate with a task force and a state agency to assess the extent of human trafficking of children in Ohio.

The executive director of the Office of Criminal Justice Services says the results of the study will help authorities respond to trafficking.

A news release by the Justice Services office says the $100,000 federal grant to the university of Cincinnati is intended to help fill “knowledge gaps” about the prevalence of human trafficking of children and young people ages 18 to 21 in foster care..

A criminal justice professor at the university says her team will be collecting information from state agencies, news reports and state-level justice system data housed at the University of Cincinnati’s Corrections Institute.

Police officer injured when motorcycle collides with car

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a Dayton police officer was injured after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car.

The Dayton Daily News reports the accident happened shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday in Springfield. The officer, who wasn’t identified, was an escort for traffic control during a charity motorcycle ride.

The officer was taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where he is in stable condition.

Springfield Police Division Sgt. Jeff Williams says the crash is being investigated. No citations have been issued.

Springfield is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Dayton.