Ohio News Briefs


Balloon pilot fatally injured at festival identified

ASHLAND, Ohio (AP) — A pilot at an Ohio balloon festival who hit his head on the balloon’s burners after landing and died has been identified.

The president of the Ashland BalloonFest in northeast Ohio says the pilot who was fatally injured Friday was 74-year-old John Moran, of Cortland.

Festival president Mindi Cantrell had said Moran hit his head during “disassembly of the balloon.”

Officials say Moran was injured shortly after his balloon landed Friday night just north of Ashland, roughly 65 miles southwest of Cleveland.

Authorities say Moran was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Festival officials say it was the 23rd year Moran had participated in the balloon event.

Ohio university trying to save iconic ash trees from borers

OXFORD, Ohio (AP) — Miami University is attempting to save some of its most iconic ash trees on its idyllic southwest Ohio campus from the destructive emerald ash borer.

The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports more than 650 ash trees have been infected by the invasive beetle that has spread across the U.S. with devastating results since the early 2000s. Signs have been posted on Miami’s campus warning people to be alert for falling limbs.

Miami University’s Cody Powell says the school has been focused on saving the largest and most iconic trees on campus. He says the school has an “unbelievable amount” of ash trees and that saving them all won’t be possible.

Ohio bill seeks to require notification on transgender kids

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A bill introduced in the Ohio House would require state teachers and school counselors to notify parents whose children identify as transgender.

The Dayton Daily News reports the bill sponsored by two southwest Ohio Republicans seeks to give parents the right to withhold gender dysphoria treatment from their minor children.

Rep. Paul Zeltwanger, of Mason, says he wants to protect parental rights and that once children reach age 18 they can “do whatever they want.”

Rep. Tom Brinkman, of Cincinnati, says he knows one transgender person but didn’t speak with any transgender people before introducing the bill.

The state’s largest teachers’ union opposes the legislation. President Becky Higgins of the Ohio Education Association says the union believes students should be guaranteed a “safe and inclusive environment.”

Pharmacy chain, Ohio Health Department sued over HIV mailing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A class-action lawsuit has been filed with the Ohio Court of Claims against CVS Caremark and the state Health Department over a mailing that might have publicly disclosed the identity of 6,000 HIV patients.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the lawsuit filed by a Cleveland-area attorney says the state shared private medical information with CVS last summer without patients’ authorization, allowing CVS to make a marketing pitch to non-customers about its pharmacy services.

The lawsuit says the designation “PM 6402 HIV” was visible above the name and address of recipients.

A federal lawsuit was filed against CVS in March over the mailing.

A CVS spokesman says the company takes patient information seriously and will handle future mailings differently.

A Health Department spokesman says the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Black Ohio lawmaker files complaint over security treatment

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A black Ohio lawmaker who says security at the Statehouse has inappropriately stopped her has filed a complaint with the state Civil Rights Commission.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Rep. Emilia Sykes, a 32-year-old Akron Democrat in her second term, says she filed the complaint this week after an unsatisfactory meeting with Public Safety Director John Born and other State Highway Patrol officials.

Sykes says despite assurances she shouldn’t have any problems, she and other black women have been singled out at security checkpoints the last two years while white legislators with proper badges pass through unquestioned.

She says that when she asked why her badge wasn’t recognized, she was told she looked too young to be a legislator.

A Highway Patrol spokeswoman said Sykes’ allegations are being investigated.

Store fires worker for message on homeless woman’s cup

CINCINNATI (AP) — An employee at a downtown Cincinnati Dunkin’ Donuts who wrote a disparaging message on a homeless woman’s cup has been fired.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the disjointed message first posted on Instagram by a customer and then shared on Facebook by others said: “Stop ‘Hangin out in-front of the store. If you have a Full Time job! — management.” The message was written Thursday.

The store’s owner says the employee wasn’t a manager and no longer works there.

Owner Mike Benhase says the employee’s message “goes against everything we stand for.” He says he would like to apologize to the woman in person if she returns to the store.

Man testifying for friend at porn trial incriminates self

CLEVELAND (AP) — Prosecutors say a man while testifying for a friend during a federal child pornography trial acknowledged taking sexually explicit photos of his 17-year-old girlfriend and now faces his own charges.

Cleveland.com reports 27-year-old Edward Marrero, of Cleveland, was arrested after his testimony Thursday in Cleveland.

An FBI affidavit says Marrero was 20 when he took photos of the teen in 2011. The age of consent in Ohio is 16, but federal law prohibits creating, sharing and possessing sexually-explicit images of anyone under age 18.

Officials say Marerro was informed before testifying about his right against self-incrimination yet took the witness stand for a man charged with producing child pornography.

Marrero’s court-appointed attorney said he didn’t know much about the case after a hearing Friday.