Ohio rule bans certain synthetic drug chemicals
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state says a new rule has gone into effect in Ohio that permanently bans two new chemicals abused as illegal synthetic drugs.
The rule announced by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and State Pharmacy Board Director Kyle Parker attempts to outlaw the two chemicals and any variations of them.
The rule taking effect Thursday classifies the chemical compounds as controlled substances illegal under Ohio law.
Authorities say the compounds appeared after a 2012 law went into effect banning all synthetic drugs that existed at the time.
The chemicals are often sprayed on plant material to mimic the effect of marijuana. The drugs can have effects similar to, but longer-lasting, than amphetamines.
DeWine has asked for the authority to ban compounds that are a threat without the need for legislation.
FISHING BOAT SEARCH
2 boaters found dead in Lake Erie; 2 more missing
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say the bodies of two of four missing boaters in western Lake Erie have been recovered off the Ohio shoreline.
Officials say they recovered the bodies of two females Thursday. Both were wearing life jackets.
The U.S. Coast Guard and other crews have been searching the lake most of the day for the boaters, who went out on Lake Erie Wednesday afternoon.
Crews first located a partially submerged boat Thursday morning near the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant about 30 miles east of Toledo.
The Coast Guard says the four were out on a fishing trip Wednesday but were supposed to return early in the evening.
Coast Guard boats and helicopters began looking the boaters before daybreak on Thursday.
Ohio statue honors woman's historic 1964 flight
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio woman's history-making flight has been memorialized with a newly unveiled statue in Columbus.
The Columbus Regional Airport Authority and The Columbus Foundation are commemorating the 50th anniversary of Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock's solo flight around the world. She was the first female pilot to accomplish that feat.
A bronze, life-sized statue depicting Mock holding a globe went on display Thursday at Port Columbus, the airport where she landed her single-engine Cessna 180 on April 17, 1964.
Mayor Michael Coleman told some 230 people gathered for the ceremony that her "Spirit of Columbus" was a "great name" for her plane. The 88-year-old Mock was unable to attend.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the statue in the airport ticket lobby will eventually become part of a "Legacy of Leadership" exhibit.
Police investigate shooting in YMCA parking lot
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Columbus police are investigating a fatal shooting in the parking lot of a YMCA.
Investigators say the people involved in the attack that left a 36-year-old man dead weren't affiliated with the facility on the city's north side.
WBNS-TV reports the Y was immediately locked down after Wednesday's shooting as a precaution.
Police are still looking for three or four people they say were involved in the attack on the victim, shot in the driver's seat of a car.
OHIO RIVER BODY
Woman's body found in Ohio River near E. Liverpool
CHESTER, W.Va. (AP) - Authorities in West Virginia are investigating a woman's body that was found in the Ohio River near East Liverpool, Ohio.
Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher tells media outlets that workers at the East Liverpool dry docks discovered the body on Wednesday afternoon near the Jennings Randolph Bridge.
The body has been sent to the medical examiner.
Fletcher says his department is handling the investigation because most of the river is in West Virginia.
Cleveland Metroparks to restore former golf course
CLEVELAND (AP) - Commissioners at Cleveland Metroparks are getting details on an ecological restoration plan for a former golf course.
The Conservation Fund, a Virginia-based private nonprofit conservation group, paid more than $14 million for the Acacia Reservation and then deeded it over to the Metroparks.
The Plain Dealer reports Thursday the arrangement includes a requirement that the park will never be used for golf and will return to nature instead.
The plan is being created by Metroparks staff and Biohabitats Inc., a company that specializes in conservation planning and ecological restoration.
Entertainment venue planned for old Akron stadium
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Developers who recently bought the University of Akron's old football stadium have dropped a plan to pursue a pro football team for the facility and are pitching a multiuse entertainment venue instead.
The proposal by Team 1 Marketing Group also includes adding a dome to the stadium known as the Rubber Bowl.
Team 1's Sean Mason tells the Akron Beacon Journal the goal is a spring 2015 opening for concerts and sporting events such as boxing, mixed martial arts and wrestling.
Brad Beckert, the city of Akron's development engineering manager, called that timetable ambitious if a dome is built.
Complicating the proposal is the possibility that Federal Aviation Administration approval might be needed for the dome because the Rubber Bowl is near the Akron airport.
Mumps cases at central Ohio community college
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Columbus health officials say they've confirmed 2 cases of mumps at a local community college as an outbreak of the illness continues.
Jose Rodriguez, Columbus Public Health spokesman, says two Columbus State Community College students have been included in the official case count.
Rodriguez said Thursday the agency is also looking into reports of two more cases of mumps at the school near downtown.
Officials have confirmed 230 cases of the contagious viral illness in the area this year. They say 145 of those are linked to Ohio State University.
Mabel Freeman, Columbus State's interim vice president for student affairs, tells the Columbus Dispatch the school has encouraged good hygiene and vaccination since the outbreak.
Space added as Columbus homeless families increase
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Central Ohio's homeless agency is expanding space for displaced families as the number of parents and children with no place to live increases.
The YWCA Family Center opened in 2005 with a capacity for 50 people and is now trying to serve 140 families.
The Columbus Dispatch reports Thursday that the Community Shelter Board, the area's local homeless agency, modified plans for a new adult shelter to include a second area for homeless families.
The board has long preferred getting families in permanent housing, even paying relatives to take family members in, rather than build new shelters.
But shelter board Executive Director Michelle Heritage says the system still has to get people off the streets. She says significant numbers of beds haven't been added since 2001.
Study concludes Toledo jail not worth saving
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A preliminary study has concluded that the perpetually overcrowded Lucas County Jail in downtown Toledo is not worth saving and a new facility is needed.
The study by California-based DLR Group says the jail often needs repairs which make remodeling and expanding it impractical.
Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp told The Blade for a story Thursday the jail is "inhumane."
The jail, built in 1977, reaches capacity at 342 inmates but on average holds more than 425 prisoners.
Tharp says it's common to see inmates on cots outside their cells.
The study says the current need is for 526 beds but says Lucas County commissioners should consider funding and space for up to 624 beds with the ability to expand if necessary.
Possible arson spree worries Dayton officials
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - A possible arson spree causing thousands of dollars in property damage has Dayton officials concerned.
Fire officials say more than two dozen fires have hit Dayton's west side this year, mostly in vacant structures, causing upward of $138,000 in damage.
The Dayton Daily News reported Wednesday that 18 of 26 fires structures involved vacant buildings and all of those have been ruled arson.
Assistant Dayton fire chief Michael Caudill says 11 fires happened within the past month, raising concerns that the numbers might grow with warmer weather.
Caudill says fire-setters sometimes have the mistaken belief that burning a vacant house can somehow improve the neighborhood.
He says it's often more expensive to fix a home that has burned.
WINTER WEATHER-OHIO SCHOOLS
Columbus schools to make up snow days via homework
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's largest school district says students will have to do work at home to make up for classes canceled during harsh winter weather.
Columbus was among many districts that exhausted their five allowable calamity days while dealing with snow, ice and extremely cold temperatures in recent months.
Lawmakers passed a measure to provide extra snow days this year and more flexibility for makeup work. One option for schools is using online lessons and work at home.
The Columbus district says it will use such assignments to account for three days of canceled classes that it typically would have had to make up. District officials say students at several schools missed one more day than the rest because of utility problems and will have an additional makeup day in late May.
TAX FRAUD CHARGES
Ohio tax preparer among 5 charged in fraud case
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A federal indictment alleges an income tax preparer and four central Ohio business owners conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and helped file false tax returns.
An IRS statement says the defendants are from Columbus. Each is charged with at least one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS and multiple counts of helping to prepare and file false tax returns.
Investigators say the tax preparer, 39-year-old Fatma Ali, created false tax documents between 2008 and 2012. Investigators say the other defendants underreported their income, and the fraudulent filings enabled people to receive tax credits for which they weren't actually eligible.
A message was left late Wednesday for Ali's attorney.
The government says the defendants could face prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines if convicted.
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