Latest Ohio news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EST


Ohio Air National Guard to aid relief efforts in Puerto Rico

PORT CLINTON, Ohio (AP) — The 200th Red Horse squadron of the Ohio Air National Guard will deploy to Puerto Rico to aid in relief efforts after the island experienced multiple earthquakes earlier this month. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a proclamation last week authorizing squadron members to assist with recovery until basic services in impacted areas are restored. About 25 members of the squad will be deployed for up to 90 days. Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced declared a state of emergency after the U.S. territory experienced a series of quakes and aftershocks, resulting in widespread damage and power failures.


Ohio city frustrated with sidewalk theft of historic bricks

NELSONVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Officials in a small Ohio city say they're frustrated by the ongoing theft of historic bricks from sidewalks in town. Chuck Barga is city manager of Nelsonville in southeastern Ohio. He says the theft of the Nelsonville Star Bricks began around Jan. 5 and now at least 50 have been stolen. The Star Bricks are a legacy of the city's brick-making history and won first prize at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. The city spent a lot of time tracking down the bricks which are no longer manufactured, making the thefts all the more frustrating.


Senate lawmakers consider public defender loan repayments

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio Senate committee is considering a bill that would create a student loan repayment program to help recruit and retain attorneys to serve as much needed public defenders in the state. The proposed program is similar to those in Ohio aimed at encouraging physicians, dentists and dental hygienists to practice in underserved areas. The program would give lawyers who become public defenders tuition loan assistance of up to $85,000 for five years of service. The House passed the bill last year and it's now before the Senate Finance Committee.


Report documents errors with Ohio's Medicaid payment system

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state has released a plan to address multiple problems a federal audit identified with Ohio's Medicaid system. Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran has told federal regulators the number of applications pending for more than 45 days should be down to 8,000 by July from 53,392 a year ago. The Columbus Dispatch reports the state also is working on 129,465 cases past due for annual checks to redetermine Medicaid eligibility. Corcoran said earlier this month that the federal audit found high error rates in the areas of payment and eligibility determination. The program for poor children and families insures nearly 3 million people.


Clones help famous elm tree named Herbie live on, for now

YARMOUTH, Maine (AP) — A massive elm tree nicknamed Herbie is long gone, but he's going to live on, thanks to cloned trees. The Elm Research Institute in New Hampshire worked with Frank Knight, the tree warden in Yarmouth, Maine, to collect cuttings from what was once the tallest and oldest elm in New England. The tree survived 14 bouts of Dutch elm before being cut down in 2010, and Knight died two years later at 103. John Hansel is founder of the Elm Research Institute. He says that Herbie was a “survivor” and that he worked for years to create 1,500 mini-Herbies.


Police: Body investigating after body found in dumpster

KETTERING, Ohio (AP) — Police say a body has been found in a dumpster in Ohio and they have started a criminal investigation into the death. Kettering police say investigators are working to discover the circumstances surrounding the death of the person who was found in the large trash bin Saturday. Police in the Dayton suburb didn't immediately release details on the cause of death or the person's age or gender. They say officers responded to the scene shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday after someone reported finding the body. Investigators are looking to see if any surveillance video of the area is available.


Police: SUV crashes into building; driver and passenger die

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police say an SUV has crashed into a building in Ohio's capital city and the driver and his passenger have died. Columbus police say 51-year-old Jonathan Mitchell apparently lost control of the vehicle on an exit ramp of Interstate 671 and went off the road shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday. Police say the vehicle then hit a tree before crashing into a building near downtown. The police release says the Columbus man and his female passenger were pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger wasn't immediately identified. Police said no other injuries were reported. There was major damage to the building.


Sixties' Freedom Rider to keynote MLK Day event

CINCINNATI (AP) — One of the “Freedom Riders” who challenged racial segregation in the 1960s will be the keynote speaker at a breakfast in Cincinnati honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center says Betty Daniels Rosemond will speak Monday at the King Legacy Awards Breakfast recognizing participants in a youth leadership program. Rosemond was among bus riders, black and white, who braved possible violence to advocate for racial equality in the segregated South. The 45th annual MLK Coalition March in downtown Cincinnati after the breakfast will include an interfaith prayer service at Fountain Square.


Man sentenced for punching Trump protester outside rally

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Kentucky man has been sentenced to 120 days in jail for punching a protester outside an August rally for President Donald Trump in Cincinnati. A jury earlier this month found 30-year-old Dallas Frazier, of Georgetown, guilty of misdemeanor assault for striking 61-year-old Michael Alter outside U.S. Bank Arena. A judge gave Frazier credit for six days in jail at sentencing Friday. Frazier was accused of jumping out of his vehicle near a group of protesters and repeatedly punching Alter, who suffered a torn artery in his eye that required surgery. Frazier must pay Alter $900 for his medical expenses.


Amusement park to open new roller coaster this spring

MASON, Ohio (AP) — Kings Island amusement park in Ohio has announced the opening date of its new steel roller coaster. The Orion will open to the public at the Mason park on the park's first day of its 2020 season on April 11. Kings Island officials have said it will be the tallest and fastest coaster at the park. The Orion is one of seven giga coasters in the world.  Coasters in that category have a height or drop of 300 feet to 399 feet. The Orion will move at 91 miles per hour and have a 300-foot drop.