Ohio headlines

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Ohio headlines

CINCINNATI

Legislators set IRS hearing

A state House committee wants to hear from Ohioans who believe they were targeted by the Internal Revenue Service because of their political leanings.

The House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee scheduled a July 25 hearing at the University of Cincinnati. The committee Thursday stated that comments from those testifying will be submitted to Ohio’s congressional delegation.

An IRS Cincinnati office played a key role in what agency officials have said was improper scrutiny of tea party and other groups when they sought tax-exempt status. Several Ohio-based tea party groups and leaders have charged they were unfairly singled out. IRS employees have denied partisan motives.

Committee chairman Mike Dovilla says it is unacceptable that government personnel would “harass ordinary citizens” and their groups. He is a Berea Republican.

COLUMBUS

Ohioans cleaning up after severe storms

Crews are working to restore electricity to nearly 88,000 customers after a wave of violent storms swept through Ohio.

The severe weather Wednesday brought winds of 70 mph or more that downed power lines, tore off roofs and dumped even more rain on an already saturated state. The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down long enough to topple a barn in Rowsburg, southwest of Akron, on Wednesday afternoon.

The storms tore down trees and power poles all over the state, toppled a section of wall at a commuter train station in Cleveland, and trapped motorists in high water on interstates. No injuries were reported.

In northwest Ohio, the high winds flipped tractor-trailer trucks on Interstate 75.

Ohioans are getting a break as clear skies were expected Thursday.

OTTAWA

Teen pleads not guilty in double murder

A 17-year-old boy has pleaded not guilty to adult murder charges in the slayings of two teen brothers in northwest Ohio.

Michael Aaron Fay was arraigned Thursday in Putnam County for the May 9 slayings of 14-year-old Blaine Romes and his 17-year-old brother Blake Romes.

Fay is accused of killing the siblings at the Ottawa mobile home he and his mother were sharing with the brothers and their mother.

Police found the bodies after Fay was arrested in Columbus and pointed officers to them.

Fay has pleaded not guilty to two counts each of aggravated murder and abuse of a corpse, and one count of theft of a vehicle.

Common Pleas Judge Randall Basinger set $5 million bond. Fay is being held at a juvenile detention center in Bowling Green.

SILVERTON

1 killed in wrong-way crash

Deputies say alcohol or drugs may have been involved in a wrong-way crash in southwestern Ohio that left a 23-year-old woman dead and another driver hospitalized.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office says it happened just after 2:30 a.m. Thursday on Interstate 71 near Cincinnati.

Deputies said Chelsie Owens of Oxford was driving her Mazda 626 south in the northbound lanes of the interstate. She sideswiped one car before crashing head-on into a Volkwagen Jetta.

Owens was dead at the scene. The driver of the Jetta, Michael Thompson, was taken to a Cincinnati hospital in stable condition.

Everybody involved was wearing seat belts.

COLUMBUS

Action, recommendations for youth prisons

A task force has made a series of suggested recommendations to reduce sexual assaults of incarcerated youth in Ohio.

Concepts include random security checks, monitoring cameras and mandatory reporting and investigating of incidents in a coordinated fashion among youth prison, highway patrol and human services agencies.

The Department of Youth Services is already sending employees to Ohio’s four juvenile detention facilities to talk with youth about their options for reporting assaults.

Earlier this year a U.S. Justice Department report put Ohio among states with the highest sexual-assault rates in its juvenile prison system.

Incarcerated young people responded anonymously to survey questions about unwanted sexual activity involving other inmates and facility employees.

Youth Services Director Harvey Reed said this week the agency is taking a comprehensive approach to making improvements.

COLUMBUS

Court: Man’s organs donated despite mom’s plea

An Ohio man declared brain dead and on life support after a hit-skip last week had his organs harvested under court order following objections from his family.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Lifeline of Ohio, the area’s organ procurement agency, sought the court order Wednesday morning after the mother of 21-year-old Elijah Smith wrote a later to them and Grant Medical Hospital in Columbus saying that she did not want her son to be an organ donor.

Under Ohio law, nobody other than the donor can amend or revoke an organ donation consent.

Smith’s mother wrote that her son did not fully understand the decision he made by registering to be a donor.

Franklin County Judge Guy Reece issued the order Wednesday afternoon.

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