Across Ohio & Our Nation

Governor signs bill allowing

motorcyclists ear protection

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill under which motorcyclists in Ohio would be allowed to wear earphones or earplugs while riding to ward off hearing loss.

The House and Senate previously approved the legislation, which would prohibit motorcyclists from listening to music or other entertainment while wearing the ear protection. The Republican DeWine signed it into law Friday, and it takes effect in 90 days.

Noise from the wind and engines can produce severe hearing loss for motorcyclists, said Sen. Rob McColley, a Republican from Napoleon in northwestern Ohio.

There was no public opposition and proponents said riders would still be able to hear sirens and car horns.

Warren looks to state for help

demolishing empty hospital

WARREN (AP) — An Ohio city is looking to the state for money to demolish an abandoned hospital that’s become a dangerous eyesore.

The former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital in Warren in northeastern Ohio has been largely abandoned since its emergency room closed in 1996. The graffiti-ridden and vandalized building sits in a residential neighborhood near other healthcare facilities including a Veterans Affair clinic, The Tribune Chronicle reported.

About 150 people attended a rally last summer calling for its demolition, including a caseworker at a nearby domestic violence shelter who called it unsafe for employees and clients.

City officials are pressing local state lawmakers to find money in the upcoming capital budget for the $4 to $8 million needed for demolition, the paper said. Gov. Mike DeWine’s capital budget proposal is expected this year though DeWine hasn’t given a date.

If demolition funds are raised and possession of the building could be transferred from the state to Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, a local nonprofit community development corporation, the building could be demolished, said Matt Martin, the partnership’s executive director.

Robbers apologize for hitting

wrong apartment then steal anyway

CLEVELAND (AP) — A pair of robbers apologized profusely after saying they broke into the wrong Cleveland apartment but robbed the man inside anyway, according to police reports.

The robbers repeatedly told the male resident they wouldn’t hurt him but had to “get something out of it” since they were already there, the reports said.

No arrests have been made in the Wednesday robbery and the 32-year-old victim wasn’t injured, cleveland.com reported.

Police reports say the man heard noises on his fire escape about 2 a.m., opened a window and found two men pointing guns at him.

Despite their mistake, the robbers took the man’s video game player, shoes, clothes, $800 in cash, iPhone and car keys. They escaped through the window and out the fire escape, the reports said.

Massillon family thinks grave

may hold remains of missing man

MASSILLON (AP) — An Ohio family thinks an unmarked grave may hold the answer to the mystery of a relative’s disappearance 50 years ago.

Russell Brunner was 31 when he disappeared from his home at the former Massillon State Hospital in 1970 where he’d been committed as a teen because of a diagnosis of schizophrenia, his sister, Rita Tod, told The Repository.

Though the hospital allegedly told his family that Brunner had been discharged, a body was found in 1972 in a barn on the grounds where Brunner worked, the paper said.Though the coroner at the time apparently suspected the body was Brunner’s, the coroner didn’t identify him as Brunner and the body was declared an “unknown male” before it was buried in the city cemetery in Massillon, according to The Repository.

Brunner was known to have worked in the same barn, the remains fit his description, and state hospital-issued items were found on the body, the paper said.

An investigation into existing records by The Repository along with its interviews with Brunner’s surviving siblings indicates the body is most likely Brunnerand that he died by killing himself.The current county coroner agreed with the paper’s findings.

“I think from the circumstantial evidence surrounding this case that it is most likely Russell Brunner,” said Coroner Anthony Bertin.

Because there was no evidence of foul play, the family would need a court order to exhume the remains and would have to pay that cost and any testing, the coroner said.

New group to serve crime

victims who have disabilities

COLUMBUS (AP) — A new organization is aimed at serving Ohio adults with disabilities who are victims of crime or witnesses of abuse, maltreatment or neglect.

Adult Advocacy Centers will develop one-stop centers to help people with disabilities that are coordinated with law enforcement, medical professionals, case managers and others, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“Crime victims with disability has been an issue without the proper supports, without the proper interview techniques and without the proper services,” Katherine Yoder, Adult Advocacy Centers executive director, told the paper. “Prosecution rates are really dismal.”

The response from disability services professionals, law enforcement officers and the medical community to Adult Advocacy Centers has been overwhelmingly positive, Yoder said.

A recent survey by the group of Ohio county boards of developmental disabilities found of the 35 responses, just 17% reported that crimes against people with disabilities are regularly taken to a grand jury in their county. About half said a lack of resources is the biggest barrier to providing crime-victim services to people with disabilities.

“It just seems like it never makes it to prosecution,” Melody Burba, a Dayton-area resident who is an advocate for herself and others with developmental disabilities, told the paper.

In Columbus, the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities is the only public agency in Ohio and among the few nationally with an investigator who works alongside city police.

“Since I’ve been here, we’ve advanced miles in the number of cases investigated,” said Toby Paine, a board of disabilities investigator with a desk at the Columbus Division of Police. “It’s a priceless partnership.”

Skeptic of world being round

dies in California rocket crash

BARSTOW, Calif. (AP) — A California man who said he wanted to fly to the edge of outer space to see if the world is round has died after his home-built rocket blasted off into the desert sky and plunged back to earth.

“Mad” Mike Hughes was killed on Saturday afternoon after his rocket crashed on private property near Barstow, California.

Waldo Stakes, a colleague who was at the rocket launch, said Hughes, 64, was killed.

The Science Channel said on Twitter it had been chronicling Hughes’ journey and that “thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends during this difficult time.”

“It was always his dream to do this launch,” the Twitter message said.

A video on TMZ.com showed the rocket taking off, with what appears to be a parachute tearing off during the launch. The steam-powered rocket streaks upward, then takes around 10 seconds to fall straight back to earth. Shrieks can be heard as the rocket plows into the desert.

Freelance journalist Justin Chapman, who was at the scene, said the rocket appeared to rub against the launch apparatus, which might have caused the mishap with the parachute. In March 2018, Hughes propelled himself about 1,875 feet (570 meters) into the air before a hard landing in the Mojave Desert in California. He said in a video that his goal was to eventually fly to the edge of outer space to determine for himself whether the world is round. “I don’t want to take anyone else’s word for it,” he said in the video, posted on the BBC News website. “I don’t know if the world is flat or round.”

In another video, Hughes said he also wanted “to convince people they can do things that are extraordinary with their lives.”

“My story really is incredible,” Hughes once told The Associated Press. “It’s got a bunch of story lines — the garage-built thing. I’m an older guy. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, plus the Flat Earth. The problem is it brings out all the nuts also.”

Dozens treated, evacuated

after pipe ruptures in Mississippi

SATARTIA, Miss. (AP) — Authorities say they’re testing the air quality after a pipe ruptured, prompting the evacuations of more than 300 residents and sending dozens of people to hospitals.

The Mississippi Department of Emergency Management said 46 people were treated at area hospitals after the Saturday night rupture, but all of them had been released by late Sunday morning.

Authorities said the 24-inch pressurized pipe ruptured in a heavily wooded area near Satartia, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Jackson.

They say the pipe contained carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide and that residents in the area complained of green gas and a noxious odor. Residents were expected to be able to return to their homes soon, emergency officials said in an update late Sunday morning. It appears the ground caved into a ravine, damaging the 24-inch pipe, the state agency said.

Feds to investigate California

bus rollover that killed three

PALA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Federal investigators are sending a team to the scene of a charter bus crash crash that killed three people and injured 18 others on a rain-slicked highway near San Diego, officials said Sunday.

The bus was on Interstate 15 in Pala Mesa on Saturday when it swerved, rolled down an embankment and landed on its roof, North County Fire Protection District spokesman John Choi said.

Several passengers were thrown from the bus, and one of the dead was trapped under the vehicle, Choi said. Another person who died was trapped inside, he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday that it had dispatched a team of four to investigate the crash in Pala Mesa, an unincorporated community about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of San Diego,

“There was a pretty good rainstorm around the time of the crash,” Choi said Sunday. It was too early to determine if the weather was a factor, officials said. The bus had no seat belts, according to Choi.

The wounded were taken to three hospitals with varying injuries, Choi said.

One of the patients was in critical condition and three others suffered major injuries, California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Latulippe told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Saturday.

The bus driver suffered minor injuries and remained at the scene. He apparently swerved for an unknown reason and lost control of the bus, Latulippe said.

The driver, whose name was not released, voluntarily submitted a blood sample, which is standard to collect in such investigations. However, drugs and alcohol are not suspected of being a factor, authorities said.

The bus was going from Los Angeles to San Ysidro, the San Diego neighborhood just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, he said. Passengers included adults and children.

The charter is owned by Executive Lines, based in Baldwin Park near Los Angeles. The company runs a regular route through inland Southern California to San Ysidro, according to the company’s website.

The business did not return a phone call or email seeking comment Sunday.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.


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