January 26, 2020 at 1:23 AM EST – Updated January 26 at 9:23 PM
Bill seeks extended safety netting at all Ohio pro ballparks
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio lawmaker is pushing legislation requiring all major and minor league baseball teams in the state to install protective netting from foul pole to foul pole. The Columbus Dispatch reports state Rep. John Patterson, a Geauga County Democrat, introduced his bill Thursday in response to concerns from a constituent blinded in one eye by a hard-hit foul ball. Forty-six-year-old Dina Simpson has been pushing for the change since being injured in 2017. Patterson’s legislation would require foul pole-to-foul pole netting be installed by the 2021 season. No additional protection would be required in front of outfield bleachers.
Former judge, civil rights activist Nathaniel Jones dies
CINCINNATI (AP) — A former federal judge who served for more than two decades on the federal appeals court in Cincinnati and previously served as general counsel for the NAACP has died. Nathaniel Jones was 93. His daughter and the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office confirmed Jones’ death. Daughter Stephanie Jones told The Cincinnati Enquirer that her father died of congestive heart failure Sunday at his home in Cincinnati. Jones was appointed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati in 1979 by former President Jimmy Carter. He retired in 2002. The Youngstown native also served as general counsel for the NAACP.
Proposal would create Ohio database of convicted sex buyers
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio lawmakers have introduced a bill to create a database of individuals convicted of trying to buy sex. Supporters say the legislation backed by Attorney General David Yost is aimed at shining a light on traffickers who sell women and on men who purchase sex. State Rep. Rick Carfagna is a Republican from Genoa Township in suburban Columbus. He says the bill goes after the demand side of prostitution and that it could provide the deterrent needed to stop people from soliciting sex. Individuals would drop off the database if five years pass without another conviction.
Cincinnati-area Democratic politician Todd Portune dies
CINCINNATI (AP) — A Democrat and former county commissioner in the Ohio county that is home to Cincinnati has died. Todd Portune was 61. Portune served as a Hamilton County commissioner from 2000 until resigning in 2019 for health reasons. His family said in a statement that Portune died Saturday at his home in the Cincinnati suburb of Green Township. The statement described Portune as “a tireless champion for all people.” Portune was previously a member of the Cincinnati City Council for several years until his election to the county commission. Portune had fought cancer for several years.
FATAL POLICE SHOOTING-COLUMBUS
Armed robbery suspect fatally shot by officer in Columbus
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police say an armed man wearing a hockey-type mask barged into a Columbus Bob Evans restaurant, demanded that a manager open a safe and was fatally shot by an officer during a confrontation. The attempted robbery and police shooting occurred around 7:45 a.m. Saturday. The suspect, whose name and age haven’t been released, died at a Columbus hospital. Police say the manager was struck in the head with a gun and was taken to a hospital for treatment. No customers or employees in the restaurant at the time were injured. Police are investigating whether the suspect was a former employee.
Attorneys: Fatal arson suspect shouldn’t face death penalty
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Attorneys for an Ohio man facing aggravated murder charges in the arson deaths of nine people say extensive brain damage makes him ineligible for a death sentence. The Akron Beacon Journal reports defense attorneys for 60-year-old Stanley Ford in a brief filed this week wrote that Ford is cognitively impaired and has the mental capacity of a juvenile or an intellectually disabled person. Summit County prosecutors disagreed, saying Ford has a rational understanding of the punishment he could face if convicted. Ford is accused of killing his Akron neighbors in two separate arson fires in 2016 and 2017.
Cincinnati Zoo cheetahs to have opportunity to run at farm
CINCINNATI (AP) — Cheetahs from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will have about five acres of open terrain where they can run at a facility anticipated to be completed this summer. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the cheetahs will be transported from the zoo in suburban Cincinnati in custom, built-in van crates to the “Cheetah Run” at the zoo’s Bowyer Farm in Warren County. Zoo spokeswoman Michelle Curley says the animals will have the space to run, but won’t be required to do so. Mark Fisher, vice president of facilities, planning, and stability, says it will give the cheetahs space to stretch their legs.
SMUGGLED DRUGS-INMATE DEATH
Prosecutor: Woman smuggled drugs that killed Ohio inmate
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a woman who smuggled the drugs that killed an Ohio prison inmate when a balloon containing methamphetamine broke open inside his body has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. The Warren Tribune Chronicle reports 37-year-old Latonya Cliff, of Cleveland, was indicted Thursday in Mahoning County for the death of 28-year-old Perez Worley. He died in December 2018 at the privately operated Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown. Worley was serving a life sentence for a 2014 slaying outside Cleveland. Authorities say the balloon was one of eight inside Worley’s body. An arrest warrant was issued Thursday for Cliff.
Ohio unemployment rate unchanged in December
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.2% in December for the fourth month in a row. State officials said Friday that seasonally adjusted nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased by 9,800 jobs in December with 5.6 million people employed. The number of those unemployed in Ohio was up 1,000 from November to December. The number of those unemployed decreased by 4,000. Ohio’s unemployment rate the previous December stood at 4.6%. The national rate of unemployment was 3.5% in December, unchanged from the previous month, and down from 3.9% in December 2018.
COLUMBUS DIOCESE-CLERGY ABUSE
Columbus diocese task force examining sexual abuse policies
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has created a task force to examine its policies regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests. The Columbus Dispatch reports the diocese in Ohio’s capital city also has hired a law firm to conduct a search to determine whether other priests should be added to the current list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse. Bishop Robert Brennan says he wants to look at the sexual abuse of minors by clergy with “new eyes.” Brennan was installed as bishop last March. The diocese’s list of accused priests currently includes 50 names.