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Ohio lawmakers to have forum on Lake Erie algae
Toledo — A group of Ohio lawmakers is planning to meet just outside Toledo this coming week to talk about the algae problems on Lake Erie.
The legislators say the state of emergency brought on over the weekend by toxins in Toledo’s water supply shows there should be greater urgency in fighting the algae.
Both Republicans and Democrats who make up the Lake Erie Legislative Caucus are planning to attend a meeting about the algae on Aug. 15 at Maumee Bay State Park. That’s just outside Toledo.
State Sen. Randy Gardner and Rep. Chris Redfern are co-chairs of the Lake Erie caucus.
— Associated PresS

FitzGerald lacked driver’s license for decade
Cleveland — The Democrat running for Ohio governor went without a permanent driver’s license for more than 10 years.
A campaign spokeswoman says Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald’s license expired in 2002, and he didn’t get a new permanent one until November 2012.
Spokeswoman Lauren Hitt says FitzGerald had scheduled his license renewal several times, but things kept coming up. She said the candidate recognizes it’s not an acceptable excuse, and he takes full responsibility.
Ohio records show FitzGerald had temporary permits starting in 2008, but he lacked one for more than a year until he got a license.
FitzGerald’s driving record has drawn scrutiny because of a 2012 incident in which police found him in his car with a woman at 4:30 a.m. at an industrial park in suburban Cleveland.
— Associated PresS

Cleveland man indicted in 3 Ohio slayings from ‘70s
Steubenville — Authorities say a Cleveland man has been indicted in the slayings of three people in eastern Ohio during the 1970s.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office says 65-year-old Stanley Rusnak was indicted and arrested Aug. 6 in connection with two slayings in 1975 and another in 1977 in the Steubenville area. He’s charged with three counts of murder.
Authorities say Rusnak was indicted based on unspecified new evidence.
He is accused of killing his 75-year-old uncle, James Kelsie Noble, and Noble’s sister-in-law and caretaker, 52-year-old Sophie Groch Bell, during a home invasion at Noble’s residence in April 1975. And he is believed to have killed 78-year-old Robert Scott sometime in July 1977. Scott’s body has never been found.
Rusnak was in jail, and no attorney information was available.
— Associated PresS

Cleveland man jailed for abusing, neglecting dogs
Cleveland — A 63-year-old man has been sentenced to six months in jail after humane officers found four emaciated pit bull dogs living in small, feces-filled cages at home.
Willie Powell Jr. of Cleveland also was sentenced to five years of probation and barred from owning animals during that time.
The Plain Dealer reports that animal control officers found the situation at his home in the Tremont neighborhood in February. He was sentenced Aug. 6 by a municipal judge.
One of his dogs was euthanized for aggression, two were adopted and the fourth was transferred to a rescue group to receive behavioral training.
Powell has a prior conviction for attempted dog fighting. Jail records did not list an attorney for him.
— Associated PresS

Man gets prison time for illegal waste dumping
Cleveland — The owner of a northeast Ohio business that collected and stored toxic fluids from oil and gas drilling operations was sentenced Aug. 5 in Cleveland to 28 months in federal prison and fined $25,000.
Ben Lupo, 64, of Poland, Ohio, had hoped to receive probation or home detention because of his various physical ailments. His attorneys said he had a kidney transplant in 2010 and receives dialysis five days a week. Prosecutors had asked for 36 months and a $250,000 fine.
“Clean air and fresh water is the birthright of every man, woman and child in this state,” U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said in a statement after the sentencing. “Intentionally breaking environmental laws is not the cost of doing business, it’s going to cost business owners their freedom.”
Lupo pleaded guilty to one count of unpermitted discharge into U.S. waters in March. He was accused of ordering workers from his company, Hardrock Excavating, of dumping toxic sludge and brine down a storm sewer 33 times from October 2012 to January 2013. The fluids, which contained diesel oil, benzene, toluene, barium and chlorides, reached a tributary of the Mahoning River.
One of his employees pleaded guilty in March to the same charge and received three months of probation and 300 hours of community service.
“I’m disappointed,” said Lupo attorney Roger Synenberg. “We had hoped for a different result.”
— Associated PresS

Over 8,000 rape kits turned in for testing in Ohio
Columbus — Attorney General Mike DeWine says Ohio’s crime lab has received 8,381 untested rape kits as it seeks DNA matches that could help solve reported sexual assaults.
DeWine’s office says Ohio officials have tested more than half of those rape kits. That has led to about 1,600 DNA matches in a criminal database. DeWine says that as DNA matches are found, the information is returned to local law enforcement to pursue charges.
The DNA testing has led to 170 indictments in Cuyahoga County alone.
The testing initiative was first announced in December 2011. It offered free DNA testing to law enforcement agencies with untested rape kits in which a crime was believed to have been committed. A total of 141 law enforcement agencies have submitted untested rape kits.
— Associated PresS

Inmates dump lunches after maggot discovery
Marysville — Officials say about 1,000 inmates at a central Ohio women’s prison dumped their lunches in the trash after another discovery of maggots in the serving area.
Prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith tells The Columbus Dispatch that inmates at the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville got rid of their meals Aug. 5 after a report circulated about the fly larvae found under a stainless-steel serving line during a pre-meal inspection.
The report of maggots was the second in the Marysville prison and the eighth confirmed case in a state prison this year. The state has twice fined the private vendor that took over the job of feeding inmates last year for violations ranging from staffing shortages to sanitation issues.
Smith said no food containing maggots was served to prisoners.
— Associated PresS

OSU band alumni group still wants director rehired
Columbus — Despite Ohio State University officials standing by their decision to fire director Jonathan Waters, the band’s alumni association says it will continue to work to get him reinstated to the job.
Gary Leppla, a lawyer who handles the alumni group’s legal issues, said at a news conference Aug. 6 that members are continuing to look into whether the investigation that led to Waters’ firing was proper.
A two-month investigation concluded Waters knew about but failed to stop a “sexualized culture” of rituals that included students marching in their underwear and performing sexually themed stunts to get explicit nicknames — a culture that he and his lawyer say he was trying to change.
Leppla says Waters was never given specific guidelines to change the band’s culture when he took over in 2012.
— Associated PresS

Willoughby Hills man gets life in wife’s death
Painesville — A judge has sentenced a northeast Ohio man to life in prison for a conspiracy that led to his foster daughter allegedly stabbing his wife to death.
A jury in June found 44-year-old Kevin Knoefel of Willoughby Hills guilty of conspiracy and complicity to commit murder in his wife’s death, as well as sexual battery for having had a sexual relationship with now 19-year-old Sabrina Zunich.
She is charged with aggravated murder in Lisa Knoefel’s 2012 stabbing death. She testified against her foster father as part of a plea deal.
Kevin Knoefel got life with parole possibility after 30 years on Aug. 6 in a Lake County courtroom.
Knoefel, who plans to appeal, contended that Zunich was mentally ill and acted alone.
— Associated PresS

Weather helps fair attendance record
Columbus — Nearly perfect weather for most of the run of this year’s Ohio State Fair helped shatter an attendance record.
The nine-day run of the fair drew 903,824 people. That easily beat the previous record of 850,218 set in 2004.
This year’s fair ended Aug. 3 with 98,612 coming out to the Columbus fairgrounds.
Tom Price, chairman of the Ohio Expositions Commission, tells The Columbus Dispatch that the great weather made it “almost a once-in-a-lifetime fair.”
Temperatures were mild and didn’t top 81 degrees. Rain fell on three of the 12 days, totaling just above a half-inch, but the sun appeared nearly every day.
Spokeswoman Alicia Shoults says spending on midway rides rose 17 percent this year from last year, and spending on food and beverages increased 10 percent.
— Associated PresS

Man gets prison for illegal dumping
Cleveland — A judge has sentenced a Northeast Ohio businessman to 28 months in federal prison for dumping toxic sludge and brine into a storm sewer that reached a tributary of the Mahoning River.
Prosecutors say 64-year-old Ben Lupo of Poland, Ohio, had employees of his wastewater company, Hardrock Excavating, dump fluids from a drilling operation down a storm sewer 33 times between October 2012 and January 2013.
Lupo pleaded guilty in March to one count of illegal discharge into U.S. waters. The fluids contained diesel oil, benzene, toluene, barium and chlorides.
The judge also fined Lupo $25,000 at his sentencing Aug. 5 in Cleveland.
Lupo’s attorney had asked that he be sentenced to probation or home detention because of his physical ailments and medical treatment, including kidney dialysis five times a week.
— Associated Press

LeBron, sons pitch in on home rehab
Akron — LeBron James and his two sons are getting their hands dirty in helping to rehab a house in the NBA star’s Akron hometown.
James took the controls of a backhoe Aug. 5 to help fix up a crumbling house for the family of a sixth-grader in his Wheels for Education mentoring program.
His sons — LeBron Jr. and Bryce — pitched in to help remove the front steps, a retaining wall and some porch railings under the direction of reality TV show host Nicole Curtis. Work on the house will be featured later on Curtis’ show “Rehab Addict” on the HGTV network.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports that work on the house in the West Hill neighborhood began Aug. 3. Businesses donated materials and labor for the project.
— Associated Press

Firefighter feted for chip flavor idea
Troy — A firefighter is being celebrated in his Ohio hometown for concocting a new potato chip flavor that’s being produced by Frito Lay.
Dayton firefighter Matt Allen is competing for a $1 million prize in an online best-new-flavor contest sponsored by the snack maker. Allen says he came up with the cheddar bacon, mac and cheese chip while cooking at a firehouse.
The Dayton Daily News reports that his hometown of Troy celebrated July 31 with an event in the public square. Troy Mayor Michael Beamish proclaimed it “Lay’s Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chip Day” in the city just north of Dayton.
Allen says his wife Danielle encouraged him to enter the contest.
Chip lovers can vote on their favorite of the four new flavors on social media.

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