Archive for the ‘Ohio’ Category

thief

An Ohio man chose to wear a sign proclaiming he’s a thief rather than go to jail after trying to steal a 52-inch television.

Greg Davenport, of Liberty Township, pleaded no contest this month to a theft charge for stealing from a Wal-Mart in the township in December.

A judge in Girard gave Davenport, 44, the sentencing option of 30 days in jail or wearing a sign saying, “I am a thief. I stole from WalMart.”

Davenport has to wear the sign in front of the store eight hours a day for 10 days of his choosing.

A “zombie nativity” that spurred complaints and zoning violation notices last year is on display again in a suburban Cincinnati yard, with a change to avoid fines.

Officials have concluded Jasen Dixon’s display complies with local zoning laws because he has removed its roof. Sycamore Township zoning administrator Harry Holbert says the issue was always about the structure and zoning rules, not the zombie figures.

The scene includes a sharp-toothed, grayish figure with black-ringed eyes sitting in the manger where the baby Jesus would be in traditional Christmas nativities

Dixon was threatened with fines last year when officials said the display violated rules on size and placement of yard structures. WCPO-TV (http://bit.ly/1Q06PxD ) reports he removed it before being cited and didn’t have to pay fines.

A 73-year-old man has taken his 12,000th ride on his favorite roller coaster at King’s Island amusement park in Ohio.

The park says Gary Coleman of Monfort Heights took the milestone ride in the front row of the Diamondback roller coaster on Monday.

The retired minister has made 493 trips to the theme park outside of Cincinnati since 2009, when the 230-foot steel roller coaster opened. It’s the tallest and fastest roller coaster at Kings Island and reaches speeds of 80 mph.

Coleman says he’s loved coasters since childhood. He says he plans to continue increasing his ride count as long as he remains healthy enough to do so.

http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:30bce0dc44ca406bad2e5e0cb1781eac

judge

Consider northwest Ohio man Donald Eugene Miller Jr. the walking dead – as he has been since 1994.

Miller was ruled legally dead by a court in 1994, eight years after he disappeared from his home in Arcadia. His appeal Monday in Hancock County Probate Court to rescind his “death” didn’t earn a change of status in the view of the law.

Judge Allan Davis, the same judge who ruled him dead nearly 20 years ago, said Monday nothing will change for Miller, who was informed of his status by his parents upon his return in 2005.

Miller’s request for a reversal did not fall within the three-year legal limit for challenging a death ruling, Davis said, according to The Courier.

“We’ve got the obvious here. A man sitting in the courtroom, he appears to be in good health,” Davis said.

Miller fled the state to avoid paying child support, the judge said in court.

“I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned,” Davis said.

One can be legally declared dead in absentia despite the absence of solid proof of one’s death – for instance, the existence of remains that can be attributed to the person – often after a certain period of time determined by jurisdictional law.

Miller withheld most details of his past in court Monday, saying he was an alcoholic and unsure of what to do once he lost his job.

“My paycheck was being taken away from me and I had nothing left,” he said.

He worked in various places in Atlanta and Florida after leaving Hancock County in late 1989.

“It kind of went further than I ever expected it to,” Miller, 61, said. “I just kind of took off, ended up in different places,” he said.

He asked the court to reverse the death ruling so he can begin to receive Social Security benefits and apply for a driver’s license again. Both were canceled upon the 1994 ruling.

Miller, now of Fostoria, may have more luck with the Social Security Administration in federal court, though his lawyer said Miller does not have the resources to pursue such a challenge.

“My client’s here on a wing and a prayer today,” attorney Francis Marley said.

Miller never contacted his two children upon leaving Ohio, he told the court.

His ex-wife, Robin Miller, said she asked for the death ruling to get his Social Security benefits for the sake of his children. She refused to testify in the case.

He owed around $26,000 in overdue child support once the death ruling was made, she said.

Though she sympathized with him, she said she opposed his request for reversal given she does not have the money to pay his benefits back.

http://rt.com/usa/ohio-man-legally-dead-916/

HT_pot_in_gun_safe_ml_130816_16x9_608

Authorities in Ohio say a man who ordered a gun safe online opened it up only to discover 280 pounds of marijuana inside.

Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart in western Ohio says the safe was made in Nogales, Mexico and that it was sent by truck to Ohio.

He says the marijuana has a street value of $420,000.

Federal authorities who are investigating say the truck driver who brought the shipment into the United States is now missing.

The Ohio sheriff says that truck was carrying a full shipment of safes, but none of the others contained any drugs.

He says the safe with the marijuana was delivered to Ohio in June, but authorities have kept quiet about it while they looked into how the safe got into the U.S.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/gun-safe-ohio-man-filled-marijuana-19995543

Instead of a dunce cap in the corner, an Ohio woman will have to wear an “idiot” sign at an intersection as punishment for driving on the sidewalk.

Shena Hardin, 32, was caught on a cellphone camera as her car swerved onto the sidewalk to get around a bus picking up and dropping off children on East 38th Street in Cleveland. The bus driver was recording and police were ready because Hardin allegedly passed the bus on the sidewalk on a regular basis.

She originally pleaded not guilty to charges of not stopping for a school bus, which was picking up a disabled child, and reckless operation of a vehicle but was convicted.

She received a $250 fine and a 30-day licence suspension, according to the report.

The judge also ordered Hardin to stand on a street near where the offence took place for an hour a day for 2 days wearing a sign that reads: Only an idiot drives on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/WeirdNews/2012/11/06/20335271.html

idiot

On the first day she smoked, listened to music and sent text messages while standing with the sign.

Cleveland Municipal Judge Pinkey Carr, not happy with Hardin’s nonchalant behavior, told Hardin’s attorney Tuesday that she expected better behavior.

The next morning, Hardin was not smoking or texting while holding the 22-inch sign that reads, “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”

And a radio station personality stood beside her with a sign that read, “If she’s an idiot, so am I.” Archie Berwick, who said he is with WLFM FM/87.7, said everyone has made mistakes, and it’s insulting to call someone an idiot.

Dozens of reporters and onlookers milled around the corner, including the mother of a child who rides the bus Hardin drove around.

“She did it every morning, putting my daughter in danger,” Lisa Kelley said. “She’s a fool.”

Hardin refused to talk to reporters and refused to apologize for her behavior.

“I don’t owe these people anything,” she said. “If the kids (who were on the school bus she illegally passed) were here, I would apologize to them.”

The rest of the hour the woman stood holding the sign, as dozens of people stopped their cars and took pictures and videos. Many called her “fool” and cursed at her.

Carr said Tuesday, “I saw television footage of her smoking and texting, and the only time she held that sign up was to use it as a shield to block the wind so she could light up her cigarettes. She was making a mockery of my court order.”

Hardin works as an administrative assistant at the Cleveland State University Police Department.

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/11/hardin.html

tanks

Built to dominate the enemy in combat, the Army’s hulking Abrams tank is proving equally hard to beat in a budget battle.

Lawmakers from both parties have devoted nearly half a billion dollars in taxpayer money over the past two years to build improved versions of the 70-ton Abrams.

But senior Army officials have said repeatedly, “No thanks.”

It’s the inverse of the federal budget world these days, in which automatic spending cuts are leaving sought-after pet programs struggling or unpaid altogether. Republicans and Democrats for years have fought so bitterly that lawmaking in Washington ground to a near-halt.

Yet in the case of the Abrams tank, there’s a bipartisan push to spend an extra $436 million on a weapon the experts explicitly say is not needed.

“If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way,” Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, told The Associated Press this past week.

Why are the tank dollars still flowing? Politics.

Keeping the Abrams production line rolling protects businesses and good paying jobs in congressional districts where the tank’s many suppliers are located.

If there’s a home of the Abrams, it’s politically important Ohio. The nation’s only tank plant is in Lima. So it’s no coincidence that the champions for more tanks are Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Rob Portman, two of Capitol’s Hill most prominent deficit hawks, as well as Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown.

They said their support is rooted in protecting national security, not in pork-barrel politics.

“The one area where we are supposed to spend taxpayer money is in defense of the country,” said Jordan, whose district in the northwest part of the state includes the tank plant.

The Abrams dilemma underscores the challenge that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel faces as he seeks to purge programs that the military considers unnecessary or too expensive in order to ensure there’s enough money for essential operations, training and equipment.

Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, faces a daunting task in persuading members of Congress to eliminate or scale back projects favored by constituents.

Federal budgets are always peppered with money for pet projects. What sets the Abrams example apart is the certainty of the Army’s position.

Sean Kennedy, director of research for the nonpartisan Citizens Against Government Waste, said Congress should listen when one of the military services says no to more equipment.

“When an institution as risk averse as the Defense Department says they have enough tanks, we can probably believe them,” Kennedy said.

Congressional backers of the Abrams upgrades view the vast network of companies, many of them small businesses, that manufacture the tanks’ materials and parts as a critical asset that has to be preserved. The money, they say, is a modest investment that will keep important tooling and manufacturing skills from being lost if the Abrams line were to be shut down.

The Lima plant is a study in how federal dollars affect local communities, which in turn hold tight to the federal dollars. The facility is owned by the federal government but operated by the land systems division of General Dynamics, a major defense contractor that spent close to $11 million last year on lobbying, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Jordan, a House conservative leader who has pushed for deep reductions in federal spending, supported the automatic cuts known as the sequester that require $42 billion to be shaved from the Pentagon’s budget by the end of September. The military also has to absorb a $487 billion reduction in defense spending over the next 10 years, as required by the Budget Control Act passed in 2011.

The plant is Lima’s fifth-largest employer with close to 700 employees, down from about 1,100 just a few years ago, according to Mayor David Berger. But the facility is still crucial to the local economy. “All of those jobs and their spending activity in the community and the company’s spending probably have about a $100 million impact annually,” Berger said.

Still, said Jordan, it would be a big mistake to stop producing tanks.

“Look, (the plant) is in the 4th Congressional District and my job is to represent the 4th Congressional District, so I understand that,” he said. “But the fact remains, if it was not in the best interests of the national defense for the United States of America, then you would not see me supporting it like we do.”

The tanks that Congress is requiring the Army to buy aren’t brand new. Earlier models are being outfitted with a sophisticated suite of electronics that gives the vehicles better microprocessors, color flat panel displays, a more capable communications system, and other improvements. The upgraded tanks cost about $7.5 million each, according to the Army.

Out of a fleet of nearly 2,400 tanks, roughly two-thirds are the improved versions, which the Army refers to with a moniker that befits their heft: the M1A2SEPv2, and service officials said they have plenty of them. “The Army is on record saying we do not require any additional M1A2s,” Davis Welch, deputy director of the Army budget office, said this month.

The tank fleet, on average, is less than 3 years old. The Abrams is named after Gen. Creighton Abrams, one of the top tank commanders during World War II and a former Army chief of staff.

The Army’s plan was to stop buying tanks until 2017, when production of a newly designed Abrams would begin. Orders for Abrams tanks from U.S. allies help fill the gap created by the loss of tanks for the Army, according to service officials, but congressional proponents of the program feared there would not be enough international business to keep the Abrams line going.

This pause in tank production for the U.S. would allow the Army to spend its money on research and development work for the new and improved model, said Ashley Givens, a spokeswoman for the Army’s Ground Combat Systems office.

The first editions of the Abrams tank were fielded in the early 1980s. Over the decades, the Abrams supply chain has become embedded in communities across the country.

General Dynamics estimated in 2011 that there were more than 560 subcontractors throughout the country involved in the Abrams program and that they employed as many as 18,000 people. More than 40 of the companies are in Pennsylvania, according to Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., also a staunch backer of continued tank production.

A letter signed by 173 Democratic and Republican members of the House last year and sent to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta demonstrated the depth of bipartisan support for the Abrams program on Capitol Hill. They chided the Obama administration for neglecting the industrial base and proposing to terminate tank production in the United States for the first time since World War II.

Portman, who served as President George W. Bush’s budget director before being elected to the Senate, said allowing the line to wither and close would create a financial mess.

“People can’t sit around for three years on unemployment insurance and wait for the government to come back,” Portman said. “That supply chain is going to be much more costly and much more inefficient to create if you mothball the plant.”

Pete Keating, a General Dynamics spokesman, said the money from Congress is allowing for a stable base of production for the Army, which receives about four tanks a month. With the line open, Lima also can fill international orders, bringing more work to Lima and preserving American jobs, he said.

Current foreign customers are Saudi Arabia, which is getting about five tanks a month, and Egypt, which is getting four. Each country pays all of their own costs. That’s a “success story during a period of economic pain,” Keating said.

Still, far fewer tanks are coming out of the Lima plant than in years past. The drop-off has affected companies such as Verhoff Machine and Welding in Continental, Ohio, which makes seats and other parts for the Abrams. Ed Verhoff, the company’s president, said his sales have dropped from $20 million to $7 million over the past two years. He’s also had to lay off about 25 skilled employees and he expects to be issuing more pink slips in the future.

“When we start to lose this base of people, what are we going to do? Buy our tanks from China?” Verhoff said.

Steven Grundman, a defense expert at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said the difficulty of reviving defense industrial capabilities tends to be overstated.

“From the fairly insular world in which the defense industry operates, these capabilities seem to be unique and in many cases extraordinarily high art,” said Grundman, a former deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial affairs and installations during the Clinton administration. “But in the greater scope of the economy, they tend not to be.”

http://news.yahoo.com/army-says-no-more-tanks-115434897.html