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.
MISSING TEEN KILLED
Police think they know who killed Ohio teenager
FAIRFIELD, Ohio (AP) - Police think they know who fatally stabbed a 15-year-old girl two years ago in southwest Ohio, though no one has been charged in her death.
Fairfield Officer Doug Day told reporters Wednesday that police are confident they know who killed Chelsea Johnson. The Fairfield girl went missing in April 2012. Her body was later found near a creek.
Police did not say why the person they suspect in the killing has not been charged.
Media outlets report that a 24-year-old man was convicted of offering Johnson drugs in exchange for sex near the time of her death, but he was not charged in the slaying.
A vigil was held at Johnson's gravesite over the weekend.
Fairfield is about 20 miles north of Cincinnati.
Defense wants to see video in school bullying case
PARMA, Ohio (AP) - An attorney says video footage could help show that a substitute teacher isn't guilty of a child endangering charge stemming from allegations that a developmentally disabled teenager was struck and bullied in gym class at a suburban Cleveland school.
Authorities say other students kicked the 14-year-old boy and dragged him around by his feet in February at Parma Senior High School. Police say the teacher continued class elsewhere in the gym while the teen remained on the floor.
The instructor, 49-year-old Gregg Mellinger, has pleaded not guilty.
The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports defense attorney Ian Friedman has asked for 30 days to review video of what happened. Friedman says he thinks the video will support Mellinger's not-guilty plea.
Authorities have said the boy wasn't seriously hurt.
Swerving Cincinnati transit bus hits 2 buildings
CINCINNATI (AP) - Authorities in Cincinnati say a public transit bus swerved to avoid a vehicle and struck two buildings in an accident that left the bus driver with an injury reported as a broken leg.
WCPO-TV reports the bus driver had finished her shift Wednesday evening and was returning to a garage when she swerved to miss a car that also had swerved.
Cincinnati police say the swerving bus initially swiped one building. The driver was thrown out of her seat, and the bus continued for about a block before crashing into a home and damaging its foundation.
No other injuries were immediately reported.
OHIO UTILITY REGULATOR
Ohio's new top utility regulator is sworn in
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) has sworn in a former state budget director and lawmaker as Ohio's top utility regulator.
The Republican governor swore in Thomas Johnson as chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on Wednesday.
Johnson, of suburban Columbus, replaces Todd Snitchler (SNIHCH'-lur), who decided not to seek reappointment when his term expired April 10.
Johnson was appointed by Kasich and confirmed by the Ohio Senate. He spent 22 years in the Ohio House before becoming budget director for then-Gov. Bob Taft.
Snitchler has joined the business department at McDonald Hopkins, where he'll counsel clients on issues of energy policy and strategy, government affairs and regulatory matters.
Break-in suspect rescued from Ohio restaurant vent
MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) - Police say an Ohio man suspected of breaking into a restaurant overnight became stuck in a ventilation duct, triggered a fire alarm and had to be rescued by emergency responders.
The Mansfield News Journal reports a subcontractor arrived at the Bob Evans in Mansfield as the alarm was sounding early Tuesday and spotted the suspect's legs dangling from the ventilation system above the stove.
Police allege the 5-foot-7, 155-pound man had climbed onto the roof and tried entering through the vent system but got stuck. Firefighters threw him a rope to secure around his wrists and pulled him back up through the ventilation shaft.
The suspect, 47-year-old John Edmonds of Mansfield, is charged with breaking and entering and having criminal tools. Court records listed no attorney for him Wednesday.
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.
No school recommended for unvaccinated kids
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Central Ohio officials are warning that children without mumps vaccinations might have to miss weeks of school if an outbreak of the illness hits classrooms.
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.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the health commissioners for Columbus and surrounding Franklin County wrote letters to schools encouraging vaccinations.
The letters also advise parents that unvaccinated students might have to stay home 25 days or longer if clusters of mumps cases begin showing up in schools.
Officials have urged residents of the region to make sure they've been inoculated with two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
Government says plea coming in price-fixing probe
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The Justice Department says a former Bridgestone Corp. executive has agreed to plead guilty in an alleged price-fixing conspiracy.
The announcement Wednesday comes a day after a current Bridgestone executive and one other former company executive were indicted in U.S. District Court in Toledo.
Federal officials say the plea deal calls for the executive to serve 18 months in prison.
The Justice Department is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into price-fixing and bid-rigging in the parts industry. Twenty-six companies, including Tokyo-based Bridgestone, have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty.
Court documents say Bridgestone participated in rigging bids and raising prices of automotive parts sold to car manufacturers.
Bridgestone has said some employees violated U.S. antitrust laws and it is confident those activities are no longer in place.
Rideshare drivers in Ohio urged to check insurance
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio is warning drivers considering work with a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft to understand the insurance implications.
Rideshare companies operating in Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland use smartphone apps to connect potential passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles.
In a warning Wednesday, Ohio Lt. Gov. and Insurance Director Mary Taylor says most personal auto insurance policies don't cover commercial use of a vehicle. And liability insurance provided by ridesharing companies may not cover medical payments and collision damage if an accident occurs.
Taylor advises would-be rideshare drivers to review their policies with an agent, broker or insurance company. She says a commercial auto policy that covers bodily injury and property damage as well as damage caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists may be advisable.
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