Ohio News Briefs


Property owners win $1M judgment in Ohio Turnpike lawsuit

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) — The owners of a parcel of less than a half-acre taken by Ohio’s turnpike commission for a construction project has won a $1 million judgment from a northeast Ohio jury for land the commission tried to acquire for less than $12,000.

The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports a Lorain County jury last week ordered the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission to pay the family that owned the Amherst property $1.1 million for the parcel. The turnpike offered the family $11,865 based on its appraisal.

An attorney for the family issued a statement after the jury decision saying “justice was served today.” Attorney Dennis O’Toole said it shows property owners have the right to let a jury decide fair compensation.

A spokesman said the commission is reviewing the decision.

Supporters mark 50th anniversary of Ohio Scenic Rivers Act

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Lawmakers, conservationists and others have marked Ohio’s historic role in river protection.

Ohio pioneered the river conservation movement when it passed the Ohio Scenic Rivers Act in February 1968. An event at the Statehouse on Wednesday marked the act’s 50th anniversary. The National Scenic Rivers Act was passed in October 1968.

The goal of the scenic river program was to maintain and enhance a river’s current natural condition and to provide for its public use without compromising the stream’s natural value.

In the five decades since Ohio’s act was approved, 14 rivers have been designated as wild, scenic and recreational rivers. Three are designated national scenic rivers for their outstanding natural features. They are Big & Little Darby Creeks, Little Beaver Creek and Little Miami River.

45k downtown Columbus workers eligible for free bus passes

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Tens of thousands of workers in downtown Columbus will be eligible for free bus passes under an innovative program aimed at boosting bus usage to address traffic and parking issues in Ohio’s capital city.

The Central Ohio Transit Authority approved what’s known as CPASS on Wednesday. The $4.5 million program launches June 1 and lasts 31 months.

Organizers say the program’s funding arrangement makes it unique nationally. It was conceived by the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District downtown, whose member property owners have agreed to self-assessments totaling $1.3 million to help cover the costs of free passes for 45,000 eligible workers.

The transit authority will receive another $2.8 million through a federal grant received by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and $400,000 from participating employers located just outside the district.

College’s attorneys seek venue change for slander lawsuit

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) — Attorneys for Oberlin College want a lawsuit filed by a business claiming slander and interference moved out of Lorain County because of media coverage and online reader comments.

The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports attorneys for the Ohio liberal arts school and its dean of students filed the motion Thursday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court in a lawsuit filed by Gibson’s Bakery, a longtime Oberlin business.

Gibson’s lawsuit claims it was slandered and lost business because of protests following the arrest of three black students for shoplifting.

Attorneys want the trial moved to Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) County, which includes Cleveland. They say the jury pool has been tainted by a “lack of balanced views” in reader comments on the Chronicle-Telegram website and the newspaper’s “extensive and pervasive” coverage of the dispute.

Ohio set to market its tourist attractions to Indianapolis

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s tourism agency says it’s expanding its outreach to Indianapolis this spring.

TourismOhio’s “Find It Here” campaign uses emotional connections to attract visitors to the Buckeye State. The latest move adds to outreach around the state and in Detroit and Pittsburgh.

TourismOhio director Matt MacLaren said Ohio can offer Indianapolis world-class roller coasters at Kings Island and Cedar Point, great events, museum experiences and craft breweries.

The agency said an analysis of regional markets found that several Ohio attractions had begun marketing in Indianapolis. Indiana was the No. 1 state outside of Ohio ordering 2017 Ohio Travel Guides, and Indianapolis was the most-searched major city other than Detroit and Pittsburgh on Ohio.org.

Tourism generated $43 billion for the state in 2016 and attracted 212 million visitors.

Eagles nest in Cleveland for 1st time in more than 100 years

CLEVELAND (AP) — Naturalists say bald eagles are nesting in Cleveland for the first time in more than 100 years.

The Plain Dealer reports a historical interpreter for the Cleveland Metroparks spotted a pair of eagles last year carrying sticks into a tree on a bluff overlooking the Cuyahoga River.

The interpreter, Karen Lakus, and others then watched the eagles build a nest and engage in courtship activities this winter. No eggs have been laid to this point. Eagles typically lay from one to three eggs during late winter with incubation taking around 35 days.

The Metroparks’ director of outdoor experiences, Wendy Weirich, says there are discussions about setting up spotting scopes along the Towpath Trail to view the nest after eggs are laid.

Schwarzenegger toasts Ohio’s efforts to stop gerrymandering

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Movie star and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made good on a promise to raise a toast with Ohio politicians after the Legislature forged a bi-partisan deal that could lead to reforms on how congressional districts are drawn in the state.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Schwarzenegger joined Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sihk) and state legislative leaders Friday for a toast with Austrian schnapps in Columbus. The “Terminator” star was in town for his annual Arnold Sports Festival.

Schwarzenegger made a video last month praising Ohio’s political leaders for “terminating gerrymandering.” Ohio voters will decide May 8 on a plan that requires maps be drawn with significant bipartisan support.

The 2011 map led to Republicans holding 12 of 16 congressional districts despite receiving less than 55 percent of the vote.

Ohio maple syrup producers hope cold snap will save season

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Maple syrup producers in central Ohio are hoping for a cold snap to save what’s left of their season.

The Columbus Dispatch reports syrup producers were encouraged by the start of the season in January with ideal conditions — above-freezing temperatures during the day and below-freezing temperatures at night allowing sap to flow from maple trees native to Ohio.

A stretch of weather in February that brought milder weather halted the flow. Producers are counting on another freeze to get sap flowing again before maple trees begin to bud and make the sap too bitter for syrup.

Ohio produced 80,000 gallons of maple syrup last year. The state is the eighth-largest producer of syrup, just behind Massachusetts. Vermont is the top producer, providing about half the syrup in the U.S.

State attorney general’s office provides ‘Marsy’s Law’ cards

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has created a tool that law enforcement can use to inform crime victims of their rights under Marsy’s Law.

The palm-sized card released Friday outlines victims’ rights under the law and provides space to write information like the date and an incident description.

The law named for a woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983 was enacted by Ohio voters in November 2017 as an amendment to the state Constitution. Among other things, it requires police to notify victims of their right to be present at all court proceedings involving their case and to notify them when an offender is released from jail or escapes.

Any law enforcement agency in Ohio can request the cards from the attorney general’s Crime Victims Services.