Latest Ohio news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. EST


Ohio legislation would make assaulting referees a crime

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Pending Ohio House legislation would make assaulting referees while they do their jobs a crime. The House Criminal Justice Commitee is considering a bill that would make an assault a first-degree misdemeanor with an automatic fine of $1,500 and 40 hours of community service. Gongwer News Service reports that the current version of the bill wouldn't stop prosecutors from pursuing more serious charges based on available evidence. Ben Ferree is with the Ohio High School Athletic Association. He told committee members last week that assaults are on the rise and officials deserve protection.


New group to serve crime victims who have disabilities

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A new organization has formed to serve Ohio adults with disabilities who are victims of crime or witnesses of abuse, maltreatment or neglect. Katherine Yoder is executive director of Adult Advocacy Centers. She says prosecution rates are dismal when it comes to crime victims who have a disability, with few cases taken to a grand jury. Yoder tells The Columbus Dispatch that Ohio is the first state developing one-stop centers to help people with disabilities that are coordinated with law enforcement, medical professionals, case managers and others. Yoder says the group's efforts are getting national attention.


Michigan sex-misconduct claims mirror Ohio State doctor case

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — When the University of Michigan announced last week that allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct by a sports doctor were under investigation, the case immediately called to mind a similar probe at Ohio State. The accusations directed at Dr. Robert E. Anderson at Michigan were strikingly similar to those lodged by hundreds of men against Dr. Richard Strauss in Ohio. The two physicians have been dead for years and are now accused of using their positions to abuse male athletes and students. Both doctors worked in athletics and student health care and were well-regarded. At some point, they both focused on genital ailments.


Bridge could be closed to motorists for most of 2021

CINCINNATI (AP) — Officials say a bridge in Cincinnati could be closed to motorists for most of 2021 while it's restored. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week that repairs of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge will likely start in February 2021 and could take up to nine months to complete. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says that during that time the bridge would be closed to vehicles and open to pedestrians on at least one side. The bridge closed in April 2019 after chunks of rocks fell from one of the bridge's towers. Bidding for the restoration effort is scheduled for June.


Robbers apologize for hitting wrong apartment, 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. Police reports say the robbers repeatedly told the man they wouldn't hurt him but had to get something out of the break-in. reports no arrests have been made in the Wednesday robbery. The 32-year-old resident wasn't harmed. 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, cash and iPhone.


Ohio family thinks grave may hold remains of missing man

MASSILLON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio family thinks a 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. A body was found in a barn in 1972 on the grounds where Brunner worked but the coroner didn't identify him as Brunner despite evidence it was him. The Canton Repository reports that its investigation into existing records and interviews with Brunner's surviving siblings indicates the body is most likely Brunner and that he died by killing himself.


Ohio city looks to state for help demolishing empty hospital

WARREN, Ohio (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 Warren Tribune-Chronicle reports that the graffiti-ridden and vandalized building sits in a residential neighborhood near other healthcare facilities including a Veterans Affair clinic. The paper says city officials are pressing local state lawmakers to find money in the upcoming capital budget for the $4 to $8 million needed for demolition.


Governor signs bill allowing motorcyclists ear protection

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill aimed at protecting the hearing of Ohio motorcyclists. The legislation would allow motorcyclists to wear earplugs or earphones while on their bikes. The House and Senate previously approved the bill and the Republican DeWine signed it into law Friday. Sen. Rob McColley is a Republican from Napoleon in northwestern Ohio. He says noise from the wind and engines can produce severe hearing damage for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists would not be allowed to listen to music while riding under the measure.


SkyStar observation wheel to be replaced with bigger wheel

CINCINNATI (AP) — The SkyStar observation wheel that provides views of Cincinnati will make its last rotations along the Ohio River next month. The wheel that has glowed in the city's skyline for over a year will stop on March 1. It will be dismantled and replaced with a larger wheel. A SkyStar company official says the new wheel will open in March 2021 and will be 30 feet taller than the current one. The new wheel will be designed to last 40 years. It will resemble a glowing "O" because the middle of the wheel is constructed with steel cables.


Police: 3 killed in crash involving semi, passenger vehicle

MORAINE, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a head-on crash involving a tractor-trailer on an Ohio interstate claimed the lives of three people. Moraine police said the crash between the semi and a passenger vehicle happened in the southbound lanes of Interstate 75 shortly before 10 p.m. Friday. The Montgomery County coroner's office identified the victims as 36-year-old Amanda Kidwell, 57-year-old Betty Davis and 6-year-old Brayden Jennings, all Middletown residents who were in the passenger vehicle. Another passenger in the vehicle was taken to Dayton Children’s Hospital and the semi driver was also taken to a hospital; their conditions weren't immediately available.