News reports for this month

posted Sep 13, 2015, 9:22 AM by Jill Hines   [ updated Sep 13, 2015, 9:28 AM ]

Downed Power Lines

 

DUBLIN, Ohio -- A quick-moving storm created hours of frustration and congestion on area roadways, after knocking down power lines.

AEP says they had 10 large transmission poles damaged in the Dublin area, including lines that came down across US-33. The highway was shut down for several hours between 270 and Avery Road.

At one point, the lines even came down across a truck and car that had been on the highway.

Several side roads were also closed near US-33 because of the downed poles and lines.

AEP crews worked with firefighters and police officers to clear the roads and repair damage

 

Swans Missing

LOGAN, Ohio— Residents along Lake Logan are questioning the alleged killing of swans that swam along the shoreline.

Viewers began writing in to NBC4 on Thursday night and saying the Ohio Department of Natural Resources had the swans removed.

ODNR provided the following statement to NBC4:

Ohio’s Swan Management plan is in place to help the native trumpeter swan population, which only twenty years ago had been driven out of Ohio, continue to grow and thrive. A component of this plan does call for the removal of mute swans. This is done because mute swans are an invasive and aggressive species that directly compete for the natural resources that are vital to the survival of Ohio’s native swans and other species. They also nest several weeks before our native, threatened trumpeter swans and are very territorial, essentially chasing off all other waterfowl.

Aesthetically speaking, swans are beautiful birds and here in Ohio we are trying to provide abundant habitat for native waterfowl, including swans. That being said, mute swans are not native to North America and directly compete with Ohio’s threatened trumpeter swan. Mute swans also impact fish communities, plant diversity, and vegetation availability to other native Ohio waterfowl.

More information, including the swan management plan, can be found athttp://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/species-and-habitats/nuisance-wildlife.

Jamie Wend Wallace posted an album on Facebook with photos of the birds. She said she visited almost every day for five years.

“They knew me, knew my voice and even my car,” she wrote. “They would swim to me from even across the other side of the lake. I bought food for them and even took care of them in the freezing weather. I loved them very much.”

Wallace said she could not find them Wednesday or Thursday, and asked a park officer what had happened. The officer allegedly told her he shot them.

Dollar Bill Jailed

ROSS CO., Ohio –A Columbus man who turned himself in to Ross County authorities Thursday night was arraigned Friday on charges of kidnapping and felonious assault.

Authorities say the arrest of 39-year-old Earnest Moore is not related to the case of the missing Ross County woman.

Moore is known on the streets of Chillicothe as “Dollar Bill.”  He has a criminal history that includes charges of assault and trafficking in drugs. Prosecutors say an unpaid drug debt was the apparent trigger for the alleged kidnapping and assault.

Investigators say Moore was waiting inside an apartment on the city’s west side when the victim arrived to buy drugs. They say Moore jumped out of a closet and assaulted the victim, bound his hands and feet with duct tape, stuffed him into a duffel bag and then transported him to another home on Mulberry St.

“He was stripped of his clothing and tortured over a period of many hours,” said Assistant Ross County Prosecutor Jeffrey Marks.

The victim was also allegedly burned with lighter fluid, boiling water and with silverware that had been heated on the stove.

“In addition to those burns which the hospital described he had second and third degree burns… he was also beaten with a broomstick allegedly during the hours of torture that took place,” Marks said.

The victim managed to escaped a day later and was taken to the hospital by his mother.

Moore was known to some of the Ross County women who have disappeared or been killed over the past two years. His arrest stirred some hope among the families of the missing women.

Yvonne Boggs’ daughter Charlotte Trego has been missing since May 2014.

“She just said that he was bad news and that he was dangerous and she was scared of him,” Boggs said of Moore. “I said why do you hang around with people like that. I kept telling her you’re going to end up dead. You’re going to end up missing.”

But investigators don’t see a connection between Moore’s case and the missing women.

“I don’t believe that this case is related to the missing women here at all,” Marks said. “I’ve been given no indication from law enforcement that there is any tie between Mr. Moore especially in this case versus the case of the missing women.”

Bond for Moore was set at $750,000. A pre-trial hearing was set for October 13.

Walkouts

COLUMBUS, Ohio –Students at the Ohio State University  staged walkouts on campuses Friday September 4th, in response to proposed tuition hikes at their schools. Last week, the Board of Regents voted for hikes of up to 5 percent a year, for the next five years, unless state funding is increased. The governor  has come out against the tuition increases, and as a regent himself, he also voted against the measure. But the regents approved the hike in a 14-7 vote.

Students at OSU have taken the lead in protesting the hikes. They've organized a group called "The Open University." The group's website lays out their beliefs:

"Education is a universal human right. These tuition hikes, as well as concerted efforts by the Ohio State University to privatize their schools, have attempted to transform education from a right into a privilege. That is what is at stake here. Financial burden from public education, which should be free, is perpetually placed on students instead of the state. This must end."

Joan Alexander, a sophomore speaking on behalf of the group, told WOSU that their message is simple. "We do not accept this," said Alexander. "These tuition hikes really put into question our right to accessible, affordable public education." Alexander says students at OSU Newark, OSU Lima, OSU Marion, OSU Mansfield, and Agricultural and Technical Institute are taking part in Friday's walkout.

Protesting students in Columbus began occupying a university building, Derby Hall, last Wednesday. The first few nights of that occupation, more than 200 people camped out in the space, which is home to the university's English Department. Alexander says those numbers have dwindled, but the university administration is allowing students to stay overnight in the space.

One student has been arrested so far in protests. But he was on the campus of OSU Marion, not Columbus.

In a statement, OSU Chancellor Robin Potts  says low-income students will actually see their tuition decrease over the coming year, and "the vast majority of OSU students from families earning less than $150,000 a year will see no increase." In an email to WOSU, an OSU spokeswoman said about 40 percent of undergrads there don't pay any tuition at all.

But Alexander says the university's statement isn't definitive enough. "It's not even clear; that's the problem," says Alexander. "It hasn't even been made clear what that means. It just says the majority."

Alexander also says it's wrong to raise tuition in the midst of salary hikes for high-level university administrators. "A 20 percent salary increase for higher-level administrators seems really, really unnecessary and hypocritical if you're increasing tuition by this much," says Alexander. She is alluding to OSU Chancellor Howard Ortega, whose salary was increased to $485,000 earlier this year.

Student protesters have been tweeting from their walkouts. One tweet showed a sign marchers carried throughout campus: "Remove Michael Drake As OSU President." They've also called for increased minority enrollment in the OSU system, and "full citizenship for undocumented immigrants." Another tweet had an image of a handwritten sign on a student's back that read, "You are not a loan!"

Protests in the Bottoms

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio –As the first payouts go out to Polaris businesses for the Polaris Tax Abatements, tensions rise in the Bottoms and the Hilltop.  Protesters met in Rhodes Park.  Things got slightly out of hand when police officers arrived on scene.  Two officers were attacked with broken bottles which caused shots to be fired on the attacking crowd.  

 

Five individuals were rushed to Doctor’s West with varying injuries.  

 

Animal Attacks on the Rise

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio –Columbus police report that a 2-month old baby boy was mauled to death by his family's pit bull on Sunday afternoon. The deadly attack occurred in the Minerva Park neighborhood on the 2600 block of Minerva Lake Rd at about 5:00 pm. At the time of the attack, the boy and his father were alone at the home. The father had stepped outside to turn on the sprinkler system. When he returned, the pit bull was attacking the baby who was in a bouncing seat, according to police.

 

As the father tried to pull the dog off his baby boy, the mother arrived home and walked in on the fatal dog mauling scene and was bitten twice by the attacking animal. The father was eventually able to grab the family pit bull by the neck and tear it away from the boy and his mother. The father then dragged the animal outside and shot it twice, according to CPD. The 2-month old baby boy, Brayden Wilson, was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

 

10TV News reported Monday that the family pit bull, named Grady, was 8-years old. The dog had been with the family for nearly a decade and had played with other children before. CBS spoke with the child's grandmother who said that family members are "in shock" that the pit bull would suddenly turn on the child. The grandmother also told 10TV that other children were at the home at the time of the savage attack, but were playing outside and did not see the violence.

“It’s just unexplainable. You just don’t get it when you’ve had the dog so long, I don’t know what could have happened. I don’t know." - Willetta Tate

Tate said the other children are 8 and 11 years old and had grown up with the dog. "Those kids, they sleep with him and everything," she said. A similar case occurred in 2013 in Georgia, when a family pit bull of 8-years, named Kissy Face, savagely killed a 2-year old boy. The female, spayed pit bull had known the boy since his birth and his older sister who was 6-years old when the attack occurred. The boy's mother, Angela Rutledge, later told her painful story to a state legislator.

 

The video shows Brayden's mother emotional after returning home from the hospital. "Like I said, kids play with him every day, littler kids, nieces and nephews and I just... I don’t know," Tate echoed. Then the video cuts to neighbor Chanel Villarreal who also owns a pit bull that she dragged for out the cameras. Because by all means, just after the violent mauling death of a baby by a family pit bull is certainly a ripe time to showcase anecdotal nonsense by a pit bull owner.

 

This was not the only attack recently just one of the most disturbing ones.

Pending home sales rose just 0.5% in July

U.S. home buyer demand remained steady in July, although consumers did not react significantly to easing mortgage rates. An index of so-called pending home sales from the National Association of Realtors, which represents signed contracts, not closings, was basically flat, rising 0.5 percent from an upwardly revised June reading.

The index is now up 7.4 percent from one year ago. Pending sales slipped in June but had otherwise been rising for five months.

"Contract activity in most of the country held steady last month, which bodes well for existing-sales to maintain their recent elevated pace to close out the summer," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR in a release. "While demand and sales continue to be stronger than earlier this year, Realtors have reported since the spring that available listings in affordable price ranges remain elusive for some buyers trying to reach the market and are likely holding back sales from being more robust."

Closed sales of existing homes, based on contracts signed in May and June, increased two percent in July, according to NAR, as the number of homes for sale remained stubbornly low, and higher home prices continued to sideline first-time home buyers. Yun said he had expected to see more first-time buyers return to the housing market this summer and was surprised by their poor showing.

Mortgage rates, which had been rising in May and June, pulled back in mid-July, which may have brought more buyers to the table. Also, the expectation in July was that the Federal Reserve would begin raising interest rates in September. That may have pushed some buyers into the market, fearing higher rates.

A roller-coaster ride on the U.S. stock market, due to fears of China's economic woes, has more now believing the Fed will not raise rates this fall. It has, however, also added uncertainty for some home buyers.

"In light of the recent volatility in the stock market, it's possible some prospective buyers may err on the side of caution and delay decisions, while others may view real estate as a more stable asset in the current environment," said Yun. "Overall, the prospects for ongoing strength in the housing market remain intact for now. The U.S. economy is growing—albeit at a modest pace—and the labor market continues to add jobs."

Pending home sales in the Northeast increased 4 percent July from June and in the Midwest were unchanged. In the South, sales increased 0.6 percent. The West was the only region to see weakness, with pending home sales down 1.4 percent for the month.

Added Yun: "Uncertainty in the equity markets—even if the Fed raises short-term rates in September—could stabilize long-term mortgage rates and preserve affordability for buyers."

Sewer Repair Continues

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio –Stormwater runoff has confounded motorists and homeowners around downtown Columbus and adjacent neighborhoods for decades, and reduced the overall water quality of the Scioto River.

A 4.5-mile long tunnel nearly 200 feet below the surface, with a diameter of 20 feet excavated beneath downtown Columbus and the Scioto River, has now been fully excavated. Crews used a 95-ton tunnel boring machine.

The existing near-surface Olentangy-Scioto Interceptor Sewer will funnel water into the new tunnel, which will travel to the Jackson Pike Wastewater Treatment Plant, before safely filtering into the Scioto River. Stormwater currently ends up in streams and ditches, eventually feeding into the Scioto River full of contaminants.

The $371 million tunnel and two odor-control facilities near downtown is the largest capital project in the history of the City of Columbus-known as the Olentangy-Scioto Interceptor Sewer Augmentation Relief Sewer project (OARS for short).

The tunnel project and upgraded treatment facilities will be fully operational in 2017

Bevelhymer

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio –Fall Planting was completed this past weekend at the new Bevelhymer Park.  Many local celebrities were there along with a church group and local druids.

 

“It is good to see the community come together to beautify the city.  We may have different spiritual beliefs but we all see beauty in this park.” Sara Thomas from Broad Street United Methodist said.  

 

Recently the park has been transitioned into a non-profit organization.  People on the board said that they think that this is going to be best for the long term success of the park.  

 

“We need to be able to get community leaders and volunteers in and being a non profit we can access a lot of resources that would otherwise be closed to us.”  

 

“This is a new and exciting day for our community”

 

Son Arrested

Police have arrested a 28-year-old man who they say fatally shot his 59-year-old father Thursday night.

Thursday night just after 9 p.m. Columbus police were called to the 2000 block of Grasmere Avenue on a report of a shooting.

Officers found 59-year-old Joseph Bythewood who had suffered a gunshot wound to the upper body. He was taken to Grant Medical Center where he later died.

Based on witness reports of an argument between the two, police began looking for Bythewood’s 28-year old son, Joseph Taylor Shine-Johnson.

Johnson was later arrested without incident and charged with the murder of his father.

This is the 100th homicide of 2015 in Columbus.

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