Ohio News Briefs


Environmental group sues Ohio for records on deicing product

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An environmental group researching a chemical made from oil and gas waste that Ohio is using to deice its roads has filed a lawsuit alleging the state has illegally withheld public records related to its inquiry.

The Buckeye Environmental Network, based in Athens, sued the Ohio Department of Natural Resources last week. At issue is a chemical called Nature’s Own Sources/AquaSalina that the group contends is dangerous and harmful to the environment.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the lawsuit alleges the group sought but was denied access to ODNR’s most recent tests of the product. The chemical is produced commercially and used by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

An ODNR spokeswoman said the department was working through the normal public records process when the group decided to sue.

US appeals court upholds Ohio’s rules for judge campaigns

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld Ohio’s rules for judicial campaigns.

The Cincinnati-based three-judge 6th U.S. Court of Appeals panel issued its ruling Monday. It said restrictions on political advocacy and limits on fundraising activities are within the state’s need to insulate the judiciary from the “most corrosive” elements of partisan politics to protect public trust in judges’ independence.

A candidate for judge had sued, contending that the restrictions violate his free speech and other constitutional rights.

The panel was unanimous in affirming a lower court’s decision for Ohio’s rules.

An attorney for the candidate didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.

Newspaper gives $5K of Pulitzer Prize money to benefit child

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Enquirer is donating $5,000 of its 2018 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting to benefit a little girl featured in the newspaper’s winning report on heroin.

The Enquirer reports the money will be the first deposit in a fund to assist Elliana Russ. The then-8-month-old child and her mother, Stephanie Gaffney, were featured in the newspaper’s “Seven Days of Heroin” report last July.

Twenty-eight-year-old Gaffney died of an overdose of a fentanyl combination 10 days after speaking with the newspaper for the story. Enquirer Editor Beryl Love said the news organization thought it “only right” to use a portion of its prize money to help her daughter.

A Hamilton County judge later granted custody of Elliana to Gaffney’s mother and her husband. They live in Bethel in Clermont County.

Sheriff raises billboard criticizing school’s security

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A southwestern Ohio sheriff has taken out a billboard ad criticizing a local district’s school security.

The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports the ad by Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones questions the safety provided by the Hamilton school board.

Jones says the board isn’t transparent and doesn’t “talk to the public.” Former Hamilton City Schools Superintendent Tony Orr agreed to a separation agreement in April that was based on an unreleased report into claims he broke district policies.

Jones says he plans to raise more billboards urging other area schools to upgrade their security in the wake of recent school shootings.

Superintendent Larry Knapp said in a statement Monday administrators will meet with Jones to discuss “safety procedures and protocols.”

Mother sentenced to prison in fatal stabbing of 1-year-old

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio teen who was charged with stabbing her 1-year-old daughter to death has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Columbus Dispatch reports a judge sentenced 18-year-old LaChelle Anderson Monday after she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, felony assault and child endangering.

Prosecutors say Anderson was 17 when she called 911 to her Columbus home last September because her child Lalanna Sharpe was not moving.

Police and paramedics arrived to find the baby with several stab wounds and Anderson covered in blood. Lalanna was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Psychologists determined that Anderson suffers from an anxiety disorder, but she was found competent to stand trial.

Anderson said Monday “no words will ever convey” how sorry she is.

Ex-police chief who mocked criminals retains criminal record

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio judge will not expunge the criminal record of a former police chief who drew a large following on his department’s Facebook page for his humorous comments about criminals.

The request comes about a year after former Brimfield Police Chief David Oliver was convicted on four misdemeanor counts, including assault of a female police officer who accused him of sexual harassment.

WKYC-TV reports Oliver addressed the court in Columbus before Judge Laurie Pittman announced her decision, with Oliver saying he’s changed as a person and has been “humbled.”

Pittman denied Oliver’s request to expunge his criminal record, citing a “lack of ownership of what he’s done.”

Oliver resigned as police chief in 2015 before he was sentenced to two years’ probation and surrendered his certificate to be an officer.

Police: Man accidentally drives over friend, killing him

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Police say two friends were working on a truck when one accidentally drove over the other man who was taken to a hospital where he died.

WEWS-TV reports Akron police say the men were working on a pickup truck in a driveway Saturday morning when the accident occurred. Officers say 47-year-old Mark Culler was working behind the truck while his friend was in the driver’s seat working on the steering column.

Police say the man inside the truck accidentally caused the truck to reverse. They say it lunged backward, hit Culler and continued to go back through the garage door. Officers say Culler was pinned inside the garage.

Officials call off search for man reported missing in river

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say they have called off their search for a man reported missing in the Hocking River in southeast Ohio.

The Athens County Fire Department called off the search Monday night after crews had spent days searching a two-mile stretch of the river.

The fire department was dispatched Saturday night on a call that a man described in reports as 29 years old and wearing black shorts and no shirt or shoes entered the river around 8 p.m.

Officials with the Athens County Emergency Management Agency say search crews used sonar, search dogs and rescue divers without finding any sign of the man.

Authorities have not released the man’s name.