Around Ohio


P. State school board member who lobbied resigns

Columbus -- A member of Ohio's state school board has resigned after questions arose over his work as a lobbyist.

Bryan Williams, an Akron-area Republican, said in an email to board President Debe Terhar Dec. 9 that recent media reports drew his attention to an Ohio Ethics Commission opinion saying elected members of state boards shouldn't be registered lobbyists.

Williams was one of four board members identified by the Akron Beacon Journal as having ties to businesses with a stake in education funding overseen by the 19-member panel.

A message was left for Williams, who is a lobbyist for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio, a group of non-union contractors.

Williams pushed recently for a bill establishing a contractor apprenticeship program paid for by school districts.

-- Associated Press

1,165 Ohioans apply to new Medicaid system

Columbus -- A total of 1,165 needy Ohioans had submitted applications for health benefits through the state's new online Medicaid system as of mid-afternoon Dec. 9, the first day the website ( began accepting enrollments.

"The system's going great," Sam Rossi, a spokesman for the state's Medicaid department, said in the late afternoon of Dec. 9. "… We've had a very good day. We've been working very hard in recent months for this."

Ohioans can access the website to see if they're eligible for coverage; those who earn too much will be directed to the federal health insurance marketplace (

The Dec. 9 launch was about a month earlier than initially expected and came less than two months after the state Controlling Board signed off on spending authority to direct about $2.5 billion in federal funds to cover health care services for Ohioans earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,856 for an individual, $32,499 for a family of four).

The Dec. 9 enrollment launch also came despite a lawsuit challenging Gov. John Kasich's Medicaid expansion decision, with half a dozen conservative lawmakers and two anti-abortion groups saying the Controlling Board did not have authority to sign off on the new spending and that such decisions must be decided by the full Ohio House and Senate.

The Ohio Supreme Court is considering arguments from both sides in the case.

-- RPC Capital Bureau Chief Marc Kovac

State to rebuild Ohio Turnpike ramps

Sandusky -- The state says the Ohio Turnpike will pay to rebuild collapsing ramps that lift many local roads up to bridges over the toll road.

The Ohio Turnpike Commission and Sandusky County have argued for years over responsibility for repairing the collapsed ramps.

The (Toledo) Blade reports that the Ohio General Assembly settled the squabble by declaring that the turnpike is duty-bound to rebuild 11 failing embankments. The work is expected to be done next year.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has set up a $5 million annual program to pay for turnpike projects that primarily would benefit local motorists or residents.

-- Associated Press

Ohio house supports cyberstalking bill

Columbus -- Victims of cyberstalking and other technology-based harassment would get better protection under a bill that is winning overwhelming support in the Ohio House.

House Bill 74, introduced Dec. 4, would make it illegal to urge or incite menacing by stalking through any form of written communication, including electronic communication. It also includes any written or verbal graphic gestures.

The bill also would prohibit a person from knowingly causing someone to think the offender will cause his or her immediate family physical or mental harm. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio prosecutors and the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio support it.

State Rep. Marlene Anielski, R-Walton Hills, shared the story Dec. 4 of a constituent who suffered through electronic harassment by a neighbor without any legal recourse.

"The bill brings our current laws on menacing and stalking up to date and will provide more peace of mind to the victims and families of those who have experienced these terrible situations," Anielski said.

-- Associated Press

Horror movie being filmed in NE Ohio

Medina -- Work was under way in Medina last week on a horror film called "Fear Clinic, which stars Robert Englund -- best known for playing Freddy Krueger in the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" series.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the producers filmed a scene in the town square Dec. 5, but most of the action will take place at a former nursing home in town.

"Fear Clinic" is based on a five-part Web series that launched in 2009. It's expected to be released for the 2014 Halloween season.

A football-themed movie starring Kevin Costner was filmed in Cleveland last summer, and parts of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" were filmed in the city in the spring.

-- Associated Press

Bingo profits for charities dropping

Dayton -- Profits generated by Ohio charities on bingo games have dropped steadily in recent years.

State numbers show charities playing bingo generated profits of more than $100 million last year, more than other state. But revenue has dropped annually since peaking in 2005.

The Dayton Daily News reports that the economic downturn, as well as the new casinos and racinos, have bitten into bingo profits.

Around 1,700 nonprofits use bingo to raise money. Most remain profitable, but some operations have closed in recent years or are scrambling to pay bills.

Ohio bingo games took in $855 million in 2012 and turned a profit of $106 million. But those numbers pale in comparison to 2005, when state bingo operations logged revenues of $1.4 billion and took $196 million in profits.

-- Associated Press

Motorists urged to look out for deer

Columbus -- Ohio's transportation department is cautioning drivers to look out for increased deer movement along the roadways at this time of year.

The agency says that Ohio saw close to 21,000 vehicle collisions involving deer last year, which resulted in six deaths and more than 1,000 injuries. An unknown number of accidents involving deer also go unreported to law enforcement.

The Department of Transportation is urging motorists to drive cautiously where deer-crossing signs are posted and to watch for deer around sunrise and sunset. The department says more than half of collisions occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.

-- Associated Press

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