Ohio News Briefs

State fair to focus on promoting best of Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Officials say this year’s Ohio State Fair will focus on promoting the best the state has to offer in areas including Ohio’s agricultural industry.

The 2018 state fair will be held July 25 through Aug. 5 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. Fair officials say this year’s event includes a wide range of food, entertainment, agriculture, livestock and art exhibitions. Highlighted traditions and interactive displays for all ages also will be available.

Livestock exhibitions will include cattle, goats, poultry, sheep, llamas, horses, swine, rabbits and more. Horticulture and floriculture competitions will include giant pumpkins and floral arrangements among other contests.

This year’s event will be the 165th Ohio State Fair.

Police investigate vandalism at city cemetery

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Police are investigating vandalism at a city cemetery that they estimate has caused about $10,000 in damage.

Authorities say more 100 headstones have been toppled at Forest Cemetery in Toledo in recent weeks. The Blade in Toledo reports that many of the vandalized grave markers date back to the 1800s.

Cemeteries foreman Luke Smigielski says the most recent act of vandalism was discovered Wednesday when officials discovered 12 headstones had been knocked over.

More than 50 headstones were discovered knocked over on June 11, and another 42 were found toppled June 18. Forest Cemetery covers about 94 acres and has more than 94,000 headstones.

A Toledo police report says the vandalism also included names and profanities carved into decorative stones.

Police identify officer shot in drug raid

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities have identified the officer who was shot during a drug raid in Ohio.

Columbus police say Officer Robert Lagore was struck in the foot during the raid Friday in Columbus.

Lagore is expected to fully recover.

Police say the suspect had fired through the door before officers entered the home.

Officers did not return fire, and they detained the suspect as well as five additional people inside the home.

No charges have been filed, and no other names have been released.

An investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

Auditor’s report shows opioids impact on Medicaid

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A state auditor’s report looking at the impact of the opioid crisis on state Medicaid spending shows the number of Ohio Medicaid recipients with an opioid-related diagnosis quadrupling from 2010 to 2016.

The report recently released by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost shows the number of Ohio Medicaid recipients with an opioid-related diagnosis climbed 430 percent between 2010 and 2016. The report also shows the state’s cost for treating opioid addiction through medication-assisted therapies, which has become more accepted and deemed effective in helping prevent relapses, jumped from more than $13 million in 2010 to $110 million by 2016, according to Yost.

The trend line is a concern for Medicaid’s financial health, said Yost. He says money could become scarce for other needs of the 3 million poor and disabled people who rely on the Medicaid program statewide.

“Medicaid is the safety net for our most-needy Ohioans,” Yost said in a statement. “That safety net is being stretched thin by the thousands of people who have lost their jobs, their health insurance and are in desperate need of care. As much as we’ve done in Ohio to curb this epidemic, more needs to be done.”

The number of persons on Medicaid receiving medication-assisted treatment for addiction jumped from about 6,500 in 2010 to nearly 48,000 in 2016, according to the report. It also shows a higher percentage of Medicaid recipients (a 45 percent increase) received medication-assisted treatment within six months of a dependence/abuse/overdose diagnosis in 2016 as compared with 2010.

The audit makes no recommendations, and Yost hasn’t taken a position on the ongoing debate over Medicaid expansion.

Some say expansion can’t be sustained financially, while others argue that any cutback would undermine state efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

Yost, a Republican, is running as a candidate for Ohio attorney general in the fall against Democrat Stephen Dettelbach, a former U.S. attorney.

Legislation provides nearly $115M for new voting machines

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Counties would split nearly $115 million to replace voting machines around the state under a bill approved by the Ohio Legislature.

Money for the new equipment would be dispersed across Ohio’s 88 counties on a per-voter basis, under the bill approved this past week. Counties with more voters would get more funding.

Ohio’s counties will be able to choose which new equipment to purchase. The equipment would require approval by federal and state officials.

The Columbus Dispatch reports most Ohio voting machines are over a decade old. About half of the state’s counties use paper ballots that are optically scanned, and half use touch-screen voting.

The legislation now goes to Gov. John Kasich. It would give counties new voting machines by the 2019 election season.