Ohio News Briefs


Students say ban on prayers before games creating tension

BELOIT, Ohio (AP) — Students at a northeast Ohio high school say a recent ban by administrators of prayers before athletic events is causing tension.

The Vindicator reports one West Branch High School student says the divide created between those supporting and opposing prayers at the public school in Beloit is “kind of a like a civil war.” Senior Mikayla Barker says a majority of students are pro-prayer.

The West Branch schools banned prayer before athletic events after receiving a letter in mid-January from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which said the practice is unconstitutional.

Pro-prayer parents and community members have had t-shirts made that say “Prayer Matters.” Opponents have created t-shirts using the popular word image “Coexist.”

Beloit is roughly 63 miles (101 kilometers) southeast of Cleveland.

Police officer under investigation for wife’s fundraiser

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland police officer is under investigation for a fundraiser that alleged his wife was pregnant and suffered breast cancer.

Authorities say an internal investigation began after a blood drive was held at the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association’s union hall for the officer’s wife Jan. 14.

Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer says investigators believe the officer’s wife was never pregnant or diagnosed with cancer.

Another online fundraiser created by a friend of the officer’s wife said it was unlikely she would live through the birth of her daughter. The online page has since been removed, but not before it raised $725.

Cleveland police says the officer in question has been on medical leave for a duty-related injury. He was unable to be reached for comment.

High school apologizes for racist chants at basketball game

CINCINNATI (AP) — Officials at an Ohio high school have issued an apology for racist and homophobic taunts lobbed at an opposing team’s players during a basketball game.

In a statement issued Monday, Elder High School Principal Kurt Ruffing says the Cincinnati school has put new rules in place for its cheering section. He says administrators have also imposed disciplinary action for students’ behavior during last week’s game against St. Xavier.

St. Xavier parent Susan Stockman tells WKRC-TV students yelled “P.F. Chang’s” at her son and told him to “go back to China.” Another parent, Mina Jefferson, says students chanted her African American son Bobby was on welfare and couldn’t read.

Ruffing says he has called an all-school assembly to address Friday’s game.

Man found guilty in slaying of woman found dead in car

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A prosecutor says a man charged with aggravated murder in the slaying of a woman found fatally shot in a car with her unharmed 6-month-old daughter has been found guilty in southwestern Ohio.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr.’s statement said the jury Tuesday also found 36-year-old Brandon Carr guilty of charges including kidnapping, felonious assault and child endangering. The Dayton man was charged in the 2016 slaying of 29-year-old Brittany Russell.

The Middletown woman’s body was found inside her car in the parking lot of a Dayton apartment complex on Feb 10, 2016. Her infant daughter was found unharmed, strapped in her car seat with the car and its heater running.

A message seeking comment was left at the office of Carr’s attorney.

Sentencing is set for Feb. 21.