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Around Ohio-Aug. 29

Published: August 29, 2016 5:51 PM

Reform proposed to unemployment benefits system
Columbus — A panel of state lawmakers is examining whether Ohio’s unemployment benefits system is sustainable and whether any solvency issues need to be addressed.
The committee of six appointed Republicans and two appointed Democrats was recently created after a bill aimed at resolving the system’s challenges stalled in the legislature.
The Unemployment Compensation Reform Joint Committee held its first of five hearings on Aug. 25.
The Columbus Dispatch report hat state and independent analysts have long advised lawmakers that Ohio’s system was structurally imbalanced, failing to accrue enough reserves during times of low unemployment to cover benefits during recessions. Ohio, like other states, was forced to borrow from a federal loan fund to keep paying benefits during the economic downturn that began in 2007. The state has yet to pay off its debt.
Bruce Madson, assistant director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, told the joint committee at its Aug. 25 meeting that the state could again have to borrow money to pay the jobless benefits should another economic decline arise.
— Associated Press

Man who fatally shot police dog gets 45 years
Canton — A man has pleaded guilty to fatally shooting an Ohio police dog after robbing a grocery store and has been sentenced to 45 years behind bars.
The Canton Repository reports 23-year-old Kelontre Barefield entered the pleas Aug. 24 to charges relating to the Canton K-9 named Jethro’s death and counts stemming from earlier burglaries and an aggravated robbery.
Stark County Common Pleas Judge Kristin Farmer called Barefield’s actions “intolerable” as she delivered a sentence that covered both cases.
Authorities say Barefield shot the 3-year-old German shepherd three times during a January confrontation. The dog died the next day. Jethro’s police handler shot Barefield in the leg.
Farmer says the sentence reflects the seriousness of Jethro’s death and the terror inflicted on victims of the burglaries and aggravated robbery.
— Associated Press

Malcolm X postcards to woman sell for $56,000
Cleveland — A set of 16 postcards from civil-rights activist Malcolm X to a woman in Cleveland has been sold at auction.
Nate D. Sanders Auctions says the handwritten cards from 1957, 1958 and 1964 went for $56,426.25 in Los Angeles last week.
The cards were written to Gloria Owens. She was the sister of Maceo X Owens, secretary at a Muhammad’s Temple of Islam in New York where Malcolm X preached alongside Louis Farrakhan.
The postcards feature landmarks and depictions of African-American life from Malcolm X’s travels in the U.S. and abroad. That included images that denigrated or stereotyped blacks. Sometimes he sent racist cartoons.
One note read: “Since I’ve seen what a mess can be made of things by narrow-minded people, I’m still traveling, trying to broaden my scope”.
— Associated Press

New fire truck doesn’t fit in station houses
Lebanon — Officials in a southwest Ohio city say a new firetruck purchased for more than $867,000 doesn’t fit in the city’s station houses.
Lebanon city manager Pat Clements tells WLWT-TV  the problems started with a ladder truck that had to be taken out of service a few weeks ago due to mechanical failure. Documents show that Clements issued an emergency order to buy a new apparatus from Pierce Manufacturing.
Clements says officials knew the truck wasn’t going to fit into Station 41 or Station 42. The bay doors aren’t tall enough to fit standard height ladder trucks.
Clements says plans are underway to add additional tall doors on the back of Station 41 to allow for a drive-thru. One front bay will be modified to fit the new truck.
— Associated Press

FDA: Listeria found in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream kitchen
Columbus — The Food and Drug Administration says Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is battling listeria again, a problem that disrupted the company’s business last year.
The Columbus Dispatch reports  the FDA says in a letter to the company’s CEO that the agency found listeria in a production kitchen after two out of 75 swabs taken in January and February came back positive.
The FDA says the positive swabs came from prep-room and wash room floors and no listeria was found in the Columbus-based company’s products.
Jeni’s says in a blog post that its products remain free of listeria.
Jeni’s shut down twice last year after listeria was found in a pint of ice cream in Nebraska and in Jeni’s kitchen. A second finding on a kitchen floor occurred later that year.
— Associated Press

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