Ohio News Briefs

Lawsuit seeks to stop work on gas pipeline in Ohio, Michigan

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Environmental groups are taking another shot at trying to stop construction of a natural gas pipeline that will run across northern Ohio and into Michigan and Canada.

The Sierra Club and others are behind a lawsuit filed Monday challenging a federal commission’s decision to allow construction of the NEXUS pipeline, which recently began.

The 255-mile-long pipeline is one of several being built or in the planning stages to carry gas from shale fields in Appalachia.

Plans for the pipelines have generated intense opposition from residents worried about property rights, safety and damage to the environment.

The lawsuit filed this week is seeking an immediate stop to construction on the NEXUS pipeline while there is a new review of whether the pipeline is needed.

Most Cleveland police have done new use-of-force training

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland says nearly 90 percent of its police officers have gone through new use-of-force training required under its court-monitored reform agreement with the Justice Department.

Cleveland.com reports a court filing indicates the city is on track to have nearly all active officers done with the training by January, when it starts implementing new policies on using force. That’s part of an agreement reached after the Justice Department found Cleveland officers too often used excessive force.

The training initially was supposed to be finished by June 2016 but was delayed as policies were drafted and then reviewed by a judge.

The city says about 150 eligible officers haven’t been trained, in some cases because they were on medical leave or restricted duty. More trainings are being offered in November and December.

Ohio Senate Democrats’ staffer resigns over conduct concerns

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The chief of staff for Democrats in the Ohio Senate has resigned after facing allegations of “inappropriate conduct” toward other employees.

Michael Premo resigned Monday from the role he held since 2015.

The Senate minority leader, Democratic Sen. Kenny Yuko, says he asked for Premo’s resignation after finding that concerns raised recently about Premo’s behavior were credible. In a statement, Yuko says he won’t share details of the allegations to respect the privacy of people who raised those concerns.

Cleveland.com reports that Premo didn’t return a call seeking comment Monday. The Twitter account where he was known to be outspoken appears to have been suspended or deleted.

A spokesman for the Senate president tells The Cincinnati Enquirer that no complaint has been filed about concerns over Premo’s behavior.

Police charge 2 more in slayings at Cleveland used car lot

CLEVELAND (AP) — Police have arrested two more suspects in the shooting deaths of a couple at their used car lot in Cleveland.

Authorities said Monday they arrested two men, one 23 and the other 24, over the weekend. The men have been charged with aggravated murder in the deaths of 47-year-old Michael Kuznik and 46-year-old Trina Tomola.

Cleveland.com reports a 29-year-old man was previously indicted on charges of aggravated murder, robbery and burglary in relation to the shooting. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Police say the couple’s son found the bodies of Kuznik and Tomola April 14. Both were shot in the head, and their family dog was also killed.

Investigators say the suspects stole two cars from the lot, surveillance equipment and computers containing records of business purchases.

Police: Man shoots, kills doctor over shared love interest

MASSILLON, Ohio (AP) — Police say a doctor has died following a shooting at an Ohio hospital parking lot over a shared love interest.

Authorities say the suspect, 50-year-old Michael Wood, killed himself shortly after shooting 59-year-old Dr. George Seese Monday afternoon.

Police say Wood fired multiple shots at Seese as the doctor was walking toward his vehicle outside Affinity Medical Center in Massillon. Wood then shot himself, and he was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

Seese died hours after the shooting. Police did not say if the doctor died before or after emergency surgery.

WBNS-TV reports Seese did not work at the hospital full-time. His medical office was located in Perry Township.

Both the hospital and Massillon City Schools were placed on lockdown for several hours after the shooting.

Company settles suit over hospice patients, disputes claims

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio corporation has paid the U.S. government a record $75 million to settle lawsuits stemming from alleged false claims about hospice patients.

The U.S. Department of Justice says that between 2002 and 2013 Chemed subsidiary Vitas knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare for services to hospice patients who were not terminally ill. The DOJ sued Chemed in 2013.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler says the resolution represents the largest amount ever recovered under the False Claims Act.

Chemed says it still disputes the allegations, but settled “to avoid the cost and uncertainty of continued litigation.”

As part of the settlement, Vitas has entered into a five-year corporate integrity agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services.