Ohio News Briefs

Ohio legislative proposals target distracted driving

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Legislature is considering two bills aimed at curbing distracted driving after records found that talking, texting and web surfing contributed to nearly 14,000 crashes in the state last year.

The Dayton Daily News reports House Bill 95 would make distracted driving a secondary offense with a maximum $100 fine.

House Bill 293 targets younger motorists by establishing a 9 p.m. curfew for driving unless accompanied by an adult and extending the learner’s permit period from six months to a year.

The bills come as traffic deaths increased nationally in 2015 following a five-decade trend of decreasing numbers.

A total of 35,092 people were killed nationally in 2015. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says close to 10 percent of those deaths occurred in accidents involving distracted drivers.

Ohio college receives $75 million gift from anonymous donor

GAMBIER, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio college says it has received $75 million from an anonymous donor, the largest gift in the school’s history.

Kenyon College says the money will pay for a new library and academic quad on the campus of the school in Gambier, about 58 miles (93 kilometers) northeast of Columbus.

The money will also be used to make Ascension Hall, one of the school’s oldest and most iconic buildings, fully accessible to people with disabilities.

College President Sean Decatur calls the gift a show of confidence in the school’s vision for the liberal arts and sciences.

The school says the donation is the largest-ever single gift to a private liberal arts college in the state.

Kenyon College, founded in 1824, has about 1,650 students.

Shots fired after Ohio man chases daughter in clown mask

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man has been charged after chasing his 6-year-old daughter around a neighborhood while wearing a clown mask and another man is charged for firing a gun

Police say the girl first jumped into a stranger’s car and then ran into a stranger’s apartment while screaming that a clown was chasing her in northeast Ohio’s Boardman Township on Saturday night.

Police say a man in the apartment building came outside and fired a gunshot into the ground.

The father told police he chased his daughter to discipline her for behavioral issues instead of spanking her. He’s been charged with child endangering and inducing panic.

Police say the man who fired the gunshot has been charged with using weapons while intoxicated.

Ohio State says fall enrollment numbers hit record high

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State University says overall fall enrollment hit record highs to include the main campus in Columbus.

The university said Friday that enrollment was 66,444 students overall and 59,837 in Columbus.

The university said incoming freshmen had the highest ACT scores to date for new students and a record of 1,542 minorities in the first-year class.

The total number of minority students on all campuses rose to just over 20 percent at 13,065 students, also a record. (AP has updated and corrected this data)

Fiat builds off-road course for incoming workers

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Fiat Chrysler says employees returning to its Ohio assembly complex to work on the new Jeep Wrangler will be greeted with new off-road courses.

The Blade reports the company has built dirt and gravel circuits inside the Toledo complex that feature steep hills, uneven logs and pitched slopes.

Plant manager Chuck Padden says the course will give employees hands-on experience with the Wrangler’s capabilities.

The company says professional drivers will take employees on the more difficult course while workers can try a less challenging one on their own.

About 3,200 workers were temporarily laid off in April so the plant could prepare for the launch of the new Wrangler. Padden says workers will be returning over the next few months.

Cincinnati Zoo welcomes new gorilla to exhibit

CINCINNATI (AP) — A new gorilla is making himself at home at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The zoo recently added a 29-year-old western lowland silverback gorilla named Mshindi from the Louisville Zoo.

Officials say Cincinnati zoo staffers spent time in Louisville learning about Mshindi’s personality by studying his body presentations during learned behaviors and health exams to help ensure a smooth transition to his new home.

Mshindi will be introduced to the Cincinnati Zoo’s two female gorillas, Chewie and Mara, after becoming acclimated to his new surroundings.

He’s the first gorilla added to the exhibit since the 2016 death of Harambe, who was killed by zoo officials after a 3-year-old boy climbed into his enclosure. Harambe’s death inspired global mourning, criticism and satire.

The exhibit will close Oct. 3 for renovations.

Man gets 8 ½ years in prison for Ohio library shooting

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man has been sentenced to 8 ½ years in prison after being charged with firing gunshots that wounded a man in the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s main branch downtown.

Defendant Joseph Steward pleaded guilty earlier this year to felonious assault and inducing panic following the June 11 shooting.

The Dispatch reports the 28-year-old Steward apologized to Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Kim Brown at Friday’s sentencing. Steward told the judge he didn’t want to hurt the victim but also didn’t want to get beat up.

Defense attorney Robert Krapenc said Steward has a history of homelessness and misdemeanor offenses. He said he believes his client has “undiagnosed mental health issues.”

Prosecutors say Steward pulled a gun during an argument with a 47-year-old man and shot him in the ankle.

Bomb threat forces evacuation of Target store in Ohio

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a bomb threat forced the evacuation of a Target store near the Dayton Mall in Miami Township.

The Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center says someone called the store about 10 p.m. Saturday and indicated there were four packages inside that would be detonated.

Police closed nearby roads as a precaution.

An investigation is continuing.

Ohio State Marching Band selected for 2018 Macy’s parade

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio State Marching Band is headed to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Ohio State announced on its website Saturday that the band will make its first appearance in the 2018 parade. It will join the enormous balloons, floats and performers.

Ohio State President Michael V. Drake says the university is thrilled that “the nation will experience the hard work, focus, creativity and brilliance of our students.”

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade creative director Wesley Whatley says the band selection committee “is proud to welcome ‘The Best Damn Band in the Land’ to the streets of New York City.”

The band performed a New York-themed halftime selection at Saturday’s football game against Army, which Ohio State won 38-7. Songs included the “Theme from New York, New York.”

Line up set for Columbus cartoon and comic strip festival

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning is among the participants in an annual cartoon and comic strip festival in Ohio’s capital city.

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus runs Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 at various locations throughout the city. It features creators of comic strips, political cartoons and graphic novels among others.

Cartoonist Signe (SIG’-nee) Wilkinson won the editorial cartooning Pulitzer Prize in 1982. She also created the syndicated strip Family Tree.

Columbus has a growing reputation as a hub for cartoonists. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State has the world’s largest collection of cartoons and comic strips.