CINCINNATI (AP) — A Cincinnati Fire Department report on a veteran firefighter's death recommends about $2.3 million in improvements in areas including communication and training of firefighters.
Officials on Thursday released their final report on the four-alarm March 26 blaze that led to three-decade veteran firefighter Daryl Gordon's death when he plunged into a fifth-floor elevator shaft.
Investigators have said that a firefighter used a black marker to write "Do Not Enter Open Shaft" on the elevator door two minutes before Gordon went through it while searching for residents to rescue in the dark, smoky building. But they have said no radio transmission communicating the warning was made.
The report refers to the faulty elevator door identified as the primary cause for Gordon's death, but also lists communications failures as contributing factors.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) â Legal fireworks continue over a proposal that seeks to control the price Ohio pays for prescription drugs.
The Drug Price Relief Act aims to keep state entities from buying drugs at prices higher than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays.
Opponents including the Ohio Manufacturers' Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America are challenging the effort in the Ohio Supreme Court. They argue in filings continuing Wednesday that petition circulators failed to comply with Ohio law and certain signatures should be tossed.
The issue's backers, led by the California-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, were cleared June 4 to take the plan to voters after state lawmakers failed to act within four months on what's called an initiated statute.
Proponents face a July 6 signature deadline for fall 2016.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State officials say a $48,000 audit of Ohio's food stamp program found roughly $31,000 in questionable costs, including benefits used by dead people and duplicate payments.
State Auditor Dave Yost released the findings of Ohio's $2.5 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on Tuesday.
The audit found 36 cases where recipients received about $24,000 in benefits a year after they died.
Nearly $29 million was spent outside of Ohio, indicating that those recipients don't live in Ohio or that they're selling cards and benefits.
The state Department of Job and Family Services tells The Columbus Dispatch the questionable costs are equal to about a tenth of a percent of the total cost of the program.
Yost says the findings indicate fraud isn't "widespread," but that even a small percentage can add up.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio has awarded nearly $28 million in tax credits to help rehabilitate 39 historic buildings around the state.
The Ohio Development Services Agency on Tuesday awarded $27.8 million in historic-preservation tax credits to 26 applicants. The agency says the projects are expected to leverage more than $261 million in private investments in 14 communities.
Agency Director David Goodman says restoring and preserving the buildings will help revitalize neighborhoods and downtowns. Most of the buildings currently are vacant.
Developers won't receive the credits until their projects are completed and have met all program requirements.
The projects include a hotel constructed in 1908 in Toledo and a Cincinnati building built in 1930 that was once the Crosley Radio Corporation headquarters and home to the company's design and manufacturing operations.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Until a new law was passed this spring, it was against the law in Ohio for firefighters or emergency responders to provide basic first aid to dogs and cats rescued from house fires, car accidents or other crisis situations. Only licensed veterinarians could do that.
The legislation passed recently makes Ohio one of the first states to protect first responders who administer lifesaving aid to pets in crisis. Animal advocates say they hope the law removes hesitation for first responders who might have concerns about tending to injured pets.
The law will allow first responders to — without fear of liability — provide oxygen, perform mouth-to-snout resuscitation, try to stem bleeding, bandage and even administer the overdose antidote naloxone to dogs or cats that have ingested opiates.
WAYNESVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Police say a bucking bull that was bred for rodeo work escaped from its enclosure and is on the lam in southwest Ohio.
Police officials in Clearcreek Township say the bull was last seen in a wooded area on Wednesday about 15 miles south of Dayton near a Springboro park.
Police say the bull escaped from a Waynesville pasture off state Route 73 and has been missing for nearly two days.
Police are urging people not to approach the animal and to call police if they see it.
Officials say the bull's owner has a recovery team out looking for it.
CINCINNATI (AP) — The driver of a Cincinnati Metro bus that struck and killed an elderly man and injured his daughter has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide.
A Metro spokeswoman said the bus was making a left turn in January when it hit two people who were crossing the street. Seventy-three-year-old Stephen Frank was killed. His 41-year-old daughter Emily was injured.
Tyrone Patrick had been charged with two vehicular manslaughter counts and a vehicular homicide count.
The 57-year-old pleaded guilty to the vehicular homicide charge on Wednesday. The other charges were dismissed.
The misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of up to six months in jail. Patrick's sentencing is scheduled for mid-August.
Metro officials say he was fired earlier this month following an internal investigation.
Patrick's defense attorney couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say two escapees from an Indiana jail have been found in Ohio four days after they were discovered missing and have been taken into custody without incident.
Indiana authorities said Tuesday that Dayton police in Ohio apprehended 39-year-old Chadwick Heath and 27-year-old Michael Roberts at a city address after receiving an anonymous tip. They didn't specify the location.
The inmates were taken to a county jail in Dayton, where Roberts was being held on Ohio charges and Heath was awaiting extradition to Indiana.
Before their escape Friday from the jail in Connersville, Indiana, Roberts was being held on burglary and theft charges and Heath on drug-dealing charges. WLWT reported that officials suspect the two men spent weeks carving through stone wall to break out, then stole a truck.
AMELIA, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say the owner of an Ohio gun shop teaching a concealed carry class was fatally shot in the neck by a student who accidently fired a weapon.
The (Cincinnati) Enquirer reports 64-year-old James Baker was shot Saturday while students practiced weapon malfunction drills. The Clermont County Sheriff's Office said there were about 10 people taking the class at KayJay Gun Shop in Monroe Township, about 25 miles southeast of Cincinnati.
Baker died at the scene. The student who fatally shot him hasn't been identified.
According to the gun shop's website, the concealed carry class consisted of basic pistol safety, shooting range sessions and a review of Ohio's gun laws.
The Clermont County Sheriff's Office is investigating the shooting.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — After selling off its herd of dairy cows, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will now pay $2.6 million to provide milk for the state's roughly 50,000 inmates.
The Columbus Dispatch reports an existing contract between the state and four Ohiodairy farms was expanded May 31 to include milk for prisoners.
Ohio needs approximately 1.3 million gallons of milk annually for its inmates.
About 1,000 dairy cows were sold by the prisons agency following their April decision to move away from the farm business. The announcement was unexpected, with a nearly $9 million project to improve prison farms in its final stages.
Prisons Director Gary Mohr says the farms were closed due to security concerns and because the practice of preparing inmates for farm jobs is outdated.
HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — The National Weather Service says it's investigating a possible tornado after strong winds downed trees and damaged multiple homes in a southwest Ohio city.
Some Hamilton residents say they had to take shelter underground as the storm rolled through the Butler County city Wednesday evening. No injuries were reported, as trees were uprooted and fell onto decks, cars and homes in the city about 30 miles north of Cincinnati.
Residents also reported seeing a funnel cloud. Weather Service monitors spotted rotation on radar for a short time.
The Weather Service planned to comb through videos and photos of the clouds and perform a storm-site survey.
Utility companies in that area and other parts of southwest and central Ohio continued working into Thursday to restore power knocked out by Wednesday's storms.
SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) - Sheriff's deputies in northern Ohio say they've arrested a man who threatened to shoot up the factory where he works and who had a loaded gun and bulletproof vest in his car.
Workers at the auto parts factory just outside Sandusky told officers the man showed up angry at work Tuesday.
One of his co-workers says 23-year-old Austin Hines said he was so upset he wanted to shoot the place up.
Hines was being held in jail on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, aggravated menacing and improperly handling a firearm.
Online court records didn't indicate if he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
The Sandusky Register reports Hines told deputies he was upset about something at home and didn't have any intention of hurting anyone.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say two children have died in a house fire in central Ohio.
A spokesman for the Columbus Division of Fire says two children, ages 10 and 12, were dead at the scene Tuesday morning. Battalion Chief Steve Martin says the children were reported to be a boy and a girl.
Martin says at least one other person was in the house, but was able to escape the fire. The relationship of that person to the children wasn't immediately known.
Neighbors called 911 to report the fire shortly before 6 a.m. Martin says the house was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, but crews were able to put out the blaze quickly.
He says investigators are trying to determine what caused the fire.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court is hearing arguments over access to police body camera videos.
News organizations including The Associated Press sued Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (DEE'-turs) last year when he initially refused to release police body camera video from the July 19 fatal shooting of a black motorist in a traffic stop by a white University of Cincinnati officer.
Deters asked the court to throw out the lawsuit, because he released the video after the officer was indicted on charges including murder.
But he has indicated interest in having the court consider the overall issue of releasing video during investigations.
The court is hearing that case Tuesday along with a related case involving police dash cam videos and whether they can be shielded as investigative records.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Officials say an Ohio principal has resigned after she pleaded guilty to stealing a thrift store worker's wallet last summer.
Authorities say surveillance footage shows Nicole Edwards take a Goodwill worker's wallet off a checkout counter last July in Delaware and look inside before putting it in her purse and walking away.
Edwards' attorney, Sam Shamansky, says in court filings that Edwards is mentally ill.
The Columbus principal pleaded guilty to felony theft in April and was ordered into a treatment program.
District spokesman Scott Varner told The Columbus Dispatch on Saturday the school board accepted the former Johnson Park Middle School principal's resignation three weeks ago after she was reassigned from her post.
Neither Edwards nor her attorney could immediately be reached for comment.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The federal government has signed off on Ohio's plan to give more than 36,000 people with disabilities more choices for community-based services.
The Columbus Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/217rgtY ) the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says it has approved a preliminary plan submitted by the state Department of Developmental Disabilities. That madeOhio the third state to meet new federal requirements designed to move people with disabilities to community services.
All states must comply with the new regulations. Ohio faced a 2019 deadline to implement the rules or potentially lose federal funding. The money covers 60 percent of all funds spent on programs for the disabled and seniors.
Federal officials are pushing to get people who are on waiver programs out of institutional-style settings and into treatment in the community.
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The new $40.8 million fourth hangar at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has opened its doors in southwest Ohio.
The 224,000-square-foot building near Dayton opened to the public after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning. The building features more than 70 aircraft and aerospace vehicles.
The new building allows the museum to collect pieces from its global reach, presidential, research and development and space galleries in one location.
The hangar also houses the Air Force One used by eight presidents. The plane carried the body of President John F. Kennedy back from Dallas in 1963 after he was assassinated.
The site also has the 96-ton Titan IVB space launch vehicle.
SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) — A northern Ohio sheriff says a friend accidentally shot and critically hurt a 13-year-old boy as the unsupervised teens were preparing to go bird-shooting.
The Sandusky Register reports a 15-year-old friend accidentally fired a shotgun and hit the younger boy in the back with birdshot Tuesday at a home in Berlin Township, roughly 50 miles east of Toledo.
Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth says the older boy had been trying to make sure the firearm wasn't loaded.
The injured boy was flown to a Toledo hospital in critical condition.
Investigators interviewed the older teen on Tuesday and plan to discuss the case with prosecutors to determine whether any charges are warranted.
It wasn't immediately clear who owns the firearm.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's budget office is making data from its state accounting system available online amid a long-running push for financial transparency by the state treasurer.
The Office of Budget and Management said Monday that Ohio's interactive budget website has been in development for several years.
Spokesman John Charlton says it's the brainchild of Budget Director Tim Keen and marks the first time Ohio's budget office has made the entire accounting system directly accessible to the public.
The move follows state Treasurer Josh Mandel's (man-DEHLZ') launch of an Ohio online checkbook in December 2014. The Associated Press recently reported Mandel had alleged that the office of fellow Republican John Kasich (KAY'-sik) quashed legislation to ensure the future of his site.
Mandel's office applauded expansion of available financial data.
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Latest on a prosecutor's decision on whether to file charges against the family of a 3-year-old boy who entered a gorilla exhibit (all times local):
The family of a 3-year-old boy who got into the Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla exhibit says it is pleased by a prosecutor's decision not to charge with mother with any crimes.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced Monday that he wasn't seeking any charges against the mother, who was at the zoo with her son the day he entered the gorilla exhibit.
The boy's family says, "This is one more step in allowing us to put this tragic episode behind us and return to our normal family life."
The boy apparently climbed over the outer barrier of the gorilla exhibit before falling some 15 feet into a shallow moat May 28. A special response team shot and killed the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla to protect him.
An Ohio prosecutor says he isn't seeking charges against the mother of a 3-year-old boy who got into the Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla exhibit, resulting in the shooting of an endangered gorilla to protect him.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (DEE'-turs) announced the decision Monday. He says the child's mother had three other children with her, and she was attending to them when the 3-year-old "just scampered off."
The Cincinnati police had investigated the family's actions in the incident May 28.
The zoo plans to reopen its Gorilla World on Tuesday with a higher, reinforced barrier. The boy apparently climbed over the outer barrier before falling some 15 feet into a shallow moat. A special response team shot and killed the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla named Harambe to protect the boy.
An Ohio prosecutor is set to release his decision on whether he will pursue charges against the family of a 3-year-old boy who got into the Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla exhibit, leading to the fatal shooting of an endangered gorilla.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (DEE'-turz) has scheduled a news conference for Monday.
Legal experts have said that prosecution on child endangerment or similar charges seems unlikely. The family has declined to comment.
The zoo says it was the first such breach in Gorilla World's 38 years of existence, but the exhibit will reopen Tuesday with a higher, reinforced barrier.
The boy apparently climbed over the barrier May 28 before falling about 15 feet into a shallow moat. A special response team shot the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla to protect the boy.
Parts of Ohio see severe storms, some damage
SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) — Thunderstorms in parts of Ohio have brought powerful winds that have caused some reported damage.
Many counties in northeast Ohio were under a severe thunderstorm watch or warning Sunday as a front moved through the state.
A spokesman for Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky says traffic there was diverted after a nearby roadway was closed as a result of downed power lines and debris from the storm. The spokesman says Cedar Point will be closed Monday as utility crews work to repair the downed power lines. The park plans to reopen Tuesday.
The Sandusky Register reports the storm also downed trees and power lines in the city's downtown area.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An investigation by The Associated Press has identified more than 16 percent of police agencies in Ohio that have not filed a single hate crime report to the FBI in past six years.
Ohio's numbers fall in line with national statistics. The AP investigation showed more than 2,700 city police and county sheriff's departments have not filed a single hate crime report with the FBI during those years. That's about 17 percent. Other agencies have reported them only sporadically.
Advocates worry that the lack of a comprehensive annual accounting allows society to overlook the extent of racism and other bias at a time of heightened racial, religious and ethnic tensions.
In Ohio, 136 of the state's 843 local law enforcement agencies haven't filed a hate crime report.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A state lawmaker has made a procedural move that could force a vote during this fall's lame duck session on a proposal to allow Ohio churches and pastors to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
The Columbus Dispatch reports state Rep. Paul Zeltwanger pulled a discharge petition on the last day of session before summer break. It is intended to force the so-called Pastor Protection Act out of committee and onto the chamber floor.
Fifty House members need to sign the document for it to be successful, a goal that's rarely met.
The bill says no clergy could be required to solemnize a marriage or have their church property used to host a ceremony that's against their religious beliefs.
Opponents say state and U.S. constitutions already protect religious freedom.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Attorneys for a Kentucky accountant who embezzled $8.7 million before going on the run say hiking the Appalachian Trail for six years as a fugitive put him on "the road to redemption."
A sentencing memorandum filed Friday by lawyers for James T. Hammes (HAM'-uhs) seeks a three-year prison sentence. That's less than half of what the federal government is recommending.
Hammes will be sentenced June 22 in Cincinnati. He pleaded guilty last year to wire fraud and agreed to pay back millions diverted from his employer, a Pepsi-Cola bottler.
The U.S. attorney's office seeks more than seven years in prison, citing the amount Hammes embezzled and the fact that he fled.
His attorneys say he has no criminal past, is remorseful and has spent years contemplating his wrongdoing.
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A 17-year-old in Toledo could be sentenced to life prison after entering a plea in the fatal killings of his former girlfriend and her brother.
Devonte Brown entered an Alford plea Friday to aggravated murder and other charges. That means he didn't admit guilt but concedes prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him.
A judge in Toledo says the minimum sentence Brown could get is life in prison with parole eligibility after 20 years.
Police say he was 16 when he attacked the two teens last August along with their mother who survived.
His former girlfriend died three weeks later from complications of strangulation. Her 14-year-old brother died from multiple stab wounds.
Police say they found the bodies after the teen told his mom that he had done "something awful."
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Two Ohio men accused of chaining a teenage girl in a basement as punishment have pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and child endangering.
Fifty-three-year-old Timothy Ciboro (SIH'-bohr-oh) entered his plea Thursday, a day after his 27-year-old son, Esten Ciboro, also pleaded not guilty.
Timothy Ciboro has said the girl, a relative, wasn't mistreated. His attorney said he hopes that the public will give Ciboro the presumption of innocence.
A message was left for Esten Ciboro's attorney.
The men were arrested last month after the teen ran from their Toledo home and told police she used a spare key to unlock herself.
The girl and two other children from the home are now in foster care.
CLEVELAND (AP) — The group monitoring Cleveland's agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to reform the city's police department has issued its first report, and it's a mixed bag of praise and criticism.
The report filed Thursday in federal court cited progress in the development of a new use-of-force policy for police, criticized a civilian group for its inability to complete investigations of complaints against officers and detailed the city's failure to maintain the police department's core infrastructure.
The report is the first since the judge approved the consent decree's first-year monitoring plan in February.
The consent decree was signed last year after a DOJ investigation found that Cleveland officers had shown a pattern and practice of using excessive force and violating people's civil rights.
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Latest on the shooting of a Cincinnati Zoo gorilla after a small child got into its enclosure (all times local):
The Cincinnati Zoo plans to reopen its Gorilla World exhibit next week with a reinforced, higher safety barrier following the death of a gorilla to protect a boy who had entered its enclosure.
Zoo spokeswoman Michelle Curley says the new barrier railing will be 42 inches tall with solid wood beams added to the top and knotted rope netting at the bottom.
That's a half-foot higher than the steel railing barrier a 3-year-old boy apparently climbed over to get into the enclosure last Saturday. The zoo's dangerous animal response team killed the 17-year-old endangered western lowland gorilla after concluding the boy's life was in danger.
The zoo says the exhibit has been open 38 years without any problems and has passed multiple outside inspections.
The exhibit will reopen June 7.
An Ohio prosecutor is reviewing the investigation into the actions of the family of a 3-year-old boy who got into a Cincinnati Zoo gorilla enclosure, leading to the fatal shooting of a gorilla.
A spokesman for Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (DEE'-turs) says Cincinnati police have concluded their probe. He says the earliest Deters will make a decision on whether charges should be pursued is Friday. Legal experts say a prosecution in the case seems unlikely.
A Cincinnati police report identifies the boy's mother as 32-year-old Michelle Gregg, who works at preschool near Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Enquirer first obtained the report.
The family says the boy is doing well at home after being treated at a hospital.
A spokeswoman says the family requests privacy and has no comment on the investigation.
No decision has been made yet on whether charges will be brought against the parents of a 3-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, causing an animal response team to shoot and kill the primate, authorities said.
Meanwhile, 911 tapes released Wednesday by Cincinnati police reveal the confusion and panic in the moments when the boy plunged into the zoo's gorilla exhibit.
"He's dragging my son! I can't watch this!" a woman, who isn't identified, says in the 911 call on Saturday.
As she pleads for help, she shouts at her son repeatedly: "Be calm!"
The zoo's dangerous animal response team shot and killed the gorilla within 10 minutes to protect the boy after he dropped some 15 feet into a moat.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Federal authorities say five U.S. Postal Service carriers in northeast Ohio are facing charges for their involvement in a scheme to deliver marijuana to a drug dealer.
A grand jury indictment handed up on Wednesday was unsealed on Monday.
All five Cleveland mail carriers face charges including conspiracy, taking bribes and distributing marijuana.
Charging documents say the carriers gave Kevin Collins their work schedules and postal routes. Collins then had marijuana packages shipped to addresses on their routes on the days they worked. The carriers would then deliver those packages to Collins in return for payment.
Collins has pleaded guilty to drug charges under a plea deal. Two carriers have pleaded not guilty. The other three have been issued summonses.
Authorities say one carrier has resigned. Four have been suspended.
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A toxicology report says a driver had a blood alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit during a February wrong-way crash in southwest Ohio that killed five people, including himself.
State troopers say 61-year-old James Pohlabeln collided head-on with a car carrying four people on Interstate 75 in Dayton. Pohlabeln and the passengers in the other car all died.
A toxicology report says Pohlabeln, of Dayton, also tested positive for opioids and antidepressants.
Records show Pohlabeln's license had been suspended after his vehicle hit a parked car. He was arrested two days before the fatal Feb. 13 crash on charges related to operating a vehicle while impaired.
Police records show Pohlabeln threated to kill himself in November after his brother died. His wife also filed for divorce in October.