Ohio News Briefs

Ohio awards $1M contract to company for marijuana help line

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio has issued a $1 million contract to a New Jersey company to operate a toll-free help line for medical marijuana patients, caregivers and physicians.

Cleveland.com reports the help line will be operated by Extra Step Assurance from a call center in Bellefontaine (behl-FOWN’-tihn) in central Ohio. The company is a subsidiary of Direct Success Inc., which has been operating a national marijuana help line there since February 2017.

The contract amount covers a three-year period.

Direct Success CEO Cheryl McDaniel says the hotline will give people information about medical marijuana so they can talk with doctors and decide whether the drug is right for them.

Ohio’s 2016 medical marijuana law required the establishment of a help line. The drug is scheduled to become available to patients in September.

Sheriff: Man’s body found in creek after fleeing deputies

ZANESVILLE, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio county sheriff says the body of a 43-year-old man has been recovered after he jumped into a creek while fleeing a traffic stop.

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz says the body of Michael Fowler, of Westerville, was found Saturday afternoon close to where he jumped into nearly freezing water outside South Zanesville early Friday.

Lutz says Fowler crashed his vehicle after a deputy tried to initiate a traffic stop around 2:30 a.m. Friday and then fled on foot before jumping into Jonathan Creek.

Several fire departments, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources spent hours searching the creek for Fowler’s body.

South Zanesville is about 58 miles (93 kilometers) east of downtown Columbus.

Police investigate death of toddler found on porch in Ohio

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Akron police are investigating how a 2-year-old girl died after her she was found unresponsive by her mother on the front porch of an apartment in freezing weather.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports the toddler was found Friday afternoon and was taken to Akron Children’s Hospital where she died. The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office in northeast Ohio will determine how the child died.

Temperatures in Akron on Friday ranged between 12 and 19 degrees.

WJW-TV is reporting the mother told a 911 dispatcher she found the toddler “frozen” outside.

Police have not identified the girl or her mother. A neighbor at the 76-apartment complex managed by the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority said the woman also has a son.

Property owners told they’re encroaching on state property

BUCKEYE LAKE, Ohio (AP) — Property owners at a central Ohio community say they were shocked to learn parts of their property encroach on state land along the berm of Buckeye Lake dam and must be removed.

The Columbus Dispatch reports a dozen Buckeye Lake property owners living alongside the 4-mile-long dam have received letters from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources telling them what parts of their property must be dismantled.

Greg Brewer says that would mean removing a portion of home’s roof, porch and steps. Brewer says it could cost as much as $200,000 to remodel a home he bought a year ago for $650,000.

An ODNR spokesman says the homeowners’ property encroaches on a sidewalk being constructed alongside the dam, which has been rebuilt because of fears that it would fail.

Ohio seeks more partners in summer meal program for children

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Department of Education is looking for more local nonprofit agencies to join a summer program that feeds tens of thousands of children when they aren’t getting meals at school.

Sponsoring organizations in the federally funded Summer Food Service Program are reimbursed for providing free meals at sites such as schools, parks, community centers and libraries.

ODE says it’s especially looking to expand the program in southern Ohio, in rural communities and in areas with migrant families. It is encouraging potential sponsors such as schools, government agencies and private nonprofits to get involved, beginning with completing an online survey by March 2.

Children ages 1 to 18 are eligible for the meal program. It’s also open to certain students between 19 and 21 who have physical or mental disabilities.

2 male turkeys harassing Ohio postal carriers euthanized

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (AP) — A state wildlife officer has euthanized two aggressive male turkeys that have been harassing postal carriers in a Cleveland suburb.

The Plain Dealer reports the Ohio Division of Wildlife decided it was time to take action after one of its officers watched a young male called a “jake” approach a woman in Rocky River and begin pecking on her pant legs.

The two jakes were euthanized Friday. Non-aggressive hens in the rafter that have been hanging around the neighborhood wandered off.

A Division of Wildlife spokesman says the attack on the woman convinced the officer “the situation needed to be alleviated.”

Joggers in the nearby Rocky River Reservation also had reported being harassed.

The Division of Wildlife offered the jakes’ carcasses to an animal rehabilitation center to feed its raptors.

Anti-LGBTQ Christian group buys shuttered gay bar building

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A Christian group that considers homosexuality to be immoral has purchased a building for worship services that until late last year housed one of Ohio’s oldest gay bars.

The Blade reports property records show the Bretz Nightclub building in Toledo was bought last month for $148,000.

The Greater Toledo House of Prayer says in a statement the previous owner had tried to sell the building for three years so it could remain open as a gay club. The group says it has no role in closing the club and bought the building because it needs more space.

The chairwoman of a nonprofit group that helps runaway and homeless LGBTQ youth says she has concerns about House of Prayer’s motivations for the purchase and challenges the organization to “embrace us.”