Ohio News Briefs

Pension fund board votes to cut retirees’ benefits

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s largest pension system has voted to cut benefits for retirees.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System voted Wednesday on the plan that would affect all of its more than 1 million members, current retirees and future ones.

The plan approved by the board would reduce cost-of-living adjustments to match the Consumer Price Index, subject to a 2.25 percent cap.

The benefit amount is now fixed at 3 percent for those who retired before January 2013.

The proposal requires General Assembly approval.

Board chairman Ken Thomas represents municipal employees. He says the proposed changes are balanced.

Board member Steve Toth represents retirees. He says the system is financially stable and the changes aren’t necessary. He says the plan means a pay cut for retirees.

3 in 4 Ohio seniors on track to graduate based on testing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Education officials say roughly three-fourths of Ohio’s high school seniors have met or are considered highly likely to meet higher test score requirements for graduation this school year.

Educators had warned last year that a third or more of that class could be at risk of not meeting the test score requirements to graduate on time. The state subsequently added flexibility in how students can earn a diploma this year, through career training or other specified alternatives.

The Ohio Department of Education says nearly 77 percent of seniors are “on track” to earn a diploma in the spring by meeting test score requirements. That’s not a projected graduation rate, and it doesn’t factor in the alternative pathways to a diploma for the class of 2018.

Ohio state senators to receive sexual harassment training

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Senate president says all state senators will be required to receive sexual harassment training after one of their members resigned this week over allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Cleveland.com reports Senate President Larry Obhof (AWB’-hawf) said Wednesday he strongly suggested to Findlay Republican Cliff Hite that he resign over allegations Hite spoke inappropriately to a female state employee who worked in a nearby state office and asked for hugs. Hite submitted his letter of resignation to Obhof late Monday.

Obhof, a Republican from Medina, did not discuss the allegations involving Hite. He said he learned about them from Hite on Oct. 11 and told him that his options were to fight the allegations or resign.

Senators and their staffs are required to receive sexual harassment training.

Police: Gun found on 3rd-grader at Ohio elementary school

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — Police say a gun has been found on a third-grader who told authorities he’d been bullied at a southwest Ohio elementary school.

Middletown police say the gun was found Monday on a 9-year-old boy after a teacher noticed a bulge in his pocket. Police say the boy grabbed at the teacher’s arm when she reached for the gun.

The boy was taken to a juvenile justice center by police. It’s unclear if he’s been charged with a juvenile crime.

Middletown Police Lt. David Birk says the boyfriend of the child’s mother was arrested on a child endangering charge.

Rosa Parks Elementary School held a gun safety assembly Tuesday.

Middletown is roughly 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Cincinnati.

Men help stop teen suspected in ex-girlfriend stabbing

WHITEHALL, Ohio (AP) — Three men are being credited for helping stop a 16-year-old boy suspected of stabbing his ex-girlfriend more than 20 times in Ohio.

Scott Bryant and Kenneth Kosobud tell the Columbus Dispatch they were driving home from work in Whitehall around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday when they saw their neighbor chasing the boy. The men say their neighbor had come up on the boy while he was attacking the girl.

The neighbor asked the men to join in the pursuit, and the three managed to corner the boy at a nearby creek. Police officers shortly appeared and took the boy into custody.

Police say the girl was transported to the hospital in critical condition. She is expected to recover from her injuries.

Authorities say the boy has been charged with attempted murder.

Grocery store to be sold to its employees, owners say

WOOSTER, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio grocery chain is selling each of its 13 supermarkets to its own employees.

Company spokesman Dan Buehler says the sale of Buehler’s Fresh Foods is expected to be complete by the end of the month. Employees will be able to buy the 13 stores through an employee stock ownership program.

Family member Greg Buehler says the option was much better than selling the stores to an “outsider.”

The Plain Dealer reports all 2,100 employees will be retrained, and eligible employees could become owners within the stock option.

The supermarkets will remain open during the transition and keep the same hours.

The Buehler family has owned the grocery store chain since 1929. Dan Buehler says the family is now looking to retire.

Gubernatorial candidate proposes surcharge on opioids

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A Democratic candidate for governor in Ohio says she would force drug manufacturers to pay a nickel-per-dose surcharge on prescription opioids sold in the state in an effort to help solve the opioid problem.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is seeking her party’s nomination for the 2018 gubernatorial race. She says her proposal on prescription opioids announced Wednesday seeks to “clean up the mess” of the opioid crisis.

Whaley says the plan would raise more than $30 million a year for local emergency responders, substance abuse centers and psychiatric hospitals.

Whaley has previously said that taking on drug companies for their role in the opioid crisis would be her highest priority as governor.