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Around Ohio-Aug. 22

Published: August 22, 2016 5:08 PM

Unemployment down from June,
up from year ago
Columbus — Ohio’s unemployment rate for July was down compared with the previous month, but up slightly from the rate reported a year ago.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Aug. 19 that the state’s jobless rate in July was 4.8 percent, down from 5 percent in June. But more Ohioans were unemployed in July 2016, compared with the same month last year. The unemployment rate for July 2015 was 4.7 percent.
The nation’s unemployment rate for last month was 4.9 percent, unchanged from June and down from 5.3 percent in July 2015.
Ohio sectors that reported job gains compared with a year ago, included construction, educational and health services and trade, transportation and utilities. Job losses over the year were reported in manufacturing, information and mining and logging.
— Associated Press

New US attorney takes office
Cleveland — Northern Ohio’s top federal prosecutor has officially taken office.
Carole Rendon was sworn in Aug. 19 as the region’s U.S. attorney at a ceremony in Cleveland.
She’d been working as acting U.S. attorney since February, when Steven Dettelbach resigned from the role.
The U.S. Senate voted in July to approve her nomination by President Barack Obama.
Rendon worked for the federal prosecutor in Massachusetts and in private practice before joining the U.S. attorney’s office in northern Ohio in 2009.
— Associated Press

Turnpike agency to use drone to inspect bridge for first time
Berea — The Ohio Turnpike plans to use a drone to inspect a bridge for the first time next month.
Officials say a remote-controlled aircraft will inspect the Sandusky River Bridge in mid-September if weather allows.
The turnpike’s executive director says officials hope to determine if drone inspections save time and money while making inspections safer by eliminating the need to use bucket trucks to check bridges.
Sections of the turnpike now must be closed and work zones created when bridges are inspected, some things not required when using drones.
Cole says drones might be allowed for other types of activities along the turnpike if next month’s test is successful.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol also are considering using drones along freeways and interstates.
— Associated Press

Theft ring may have stolen 50 ATMs
Cleveland — A criminal ring carefully planned and sometimes executed smash-and-grab thefts of ATMs in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars, authorities said Aug. 17.
Eleven Cleveland men were indicted Aug. 16 on racketeering and other charges related to 10 thefts or attempted thefts of ATMs in five Northeast Ohio counties since early 2015. The group could be responsible for more than 50 ATM thefts and that more arrests and charges are expected, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty said at a news conference Aug. 17.
Three men alleged to be the leaders of the ring were convicted in 2011 of breaking into a store and trying to steal an ATM, with two of the men serving prison time, McGinty said.
The thefts became more sophisticated, with the ring targeting convenience and drug stores with ATMs near the front door, authorities said. They would use stolen cargo vans to smash through store entrances in reverse, detaching cash machines from their moorings. The ATMs would be loaded into the van and taken to locations in Cleveland where they were opened using pry bars, power tools and cutting torches, authorities said.
Police in Strongsville arrested several members of the ring Aug. 8 after a 20-mile chase that began seconds after an ATM was stolen from a convenience store in that city.
— Associated Press

Attorney sues
judges over Black Lives Matter button
Youngstown — An attorney sentenced to five days in jail for refusing to remove a Black Lives Matter button while in court has sued two Northeast Ohio municipal court judges and the city of Youngstown claiming her free speech rights were violated.
The Youngstown Vindicator reports Andrea Burton sued Youngstown Municipal Court judges Robert Milich and Elizabeth Kobly in federal court Aug. 18.
Milich sentenced Burton to jail for contempt of court last month after she refused to remove the Black Lives Matter button. Milich rescinded the order after ordering Burton into custody when she agreed to adhere to the dress code while her attorney’s appealed Milich’s order.
Milich said he cited Pearson because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision banning political buttons in courtrooms
— Associated Press

200 endangered
to be released
Toledo — More than 200 eastern hellbenders will be released into Ohio streams in an ongoing effort to offset a decline in the endangered aquatic salamander.
The Toledo Zoo will participate in releasing the endangered salamanders into Ohio River and Muskingum River drainages this week as part of the Ohio Hellbender Partnership. Hellbenders are native to the state. But they are endangered in Ohio primarily because they are very susceptible to pollution, siltation and general disturbance of their stream-bed habitat.
The Blade in Toledo reports that the zoo hatches hellbender eggs collected from the wild and raises the young until they are large enough to avoid most predators.
Surveys of hellbenders in the late 1980s and again in the late 2000s showed an estimated population decline of 82 percent.
— Associated Press

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