Ohio News Briefs

Family of 2 Ohio kayakers who died seeks more dam warnings

UPPER SANDUSKY (AP) — Relatives of two brothers who died while kayaking in a northwest Ohio river are pushing for more signs near low-lying dams to warn of potential dangers.

Billy Zornes, 45, and Lewis Zornes, 46, died June 21 after their kayaks overturned in the Sandusky River near Upper Sandusky, roughly halfway between Columbus and Toledo. Investigators say one of the Bucyrus men went over a submerged dam, and the other went back into the water to attempt a rescue.

Arguing the kayakers didn’t have sufficient warning about the dam, their family has started a petition and plans to ask local and state government officials for more warning signs near so-called low-head dams, The (Upper Sandusky) Daily Chief-Union reported.

Low-head dams are considered dangerous during high water because they create churning water that can be difficult to escape.

Water in the area was high when the brothers’ kayaks overturned last month. A Marion man drowned at the same location in 2013.

“There is no reason we should not have warning signs above and below any low-head dam,” said Lewis Zornes’ stepdaughter, Crestline resident Ashley Alberty.

Lewis Zornes’ wife was kayaking with the brothers when her husband tried to go through the dam and was pulled under by the current, and she said Billy Zornes was pulled in while trying to help, according to police records recently released to the Daily Chief-Union. She tried to use a tree branch to aid them, then called for emergency help.

Initial information indicated Lewis Zornes’ blood alcohol content was logged as being above Ohio’s legal limit for driving, the Daily Chief-Union reported.

Make-shift cannon explosion causes injuries, damage in Ohio

LOWELLVILLE (AP) — Authorities say a pipe-bomb-style explosion injured several people and damaged homes and vehicles in a northeast Ohio village.

The Vindicator in Youngstown reports a make-shift cannon was set off and exploded late Saturday night in the nearby village of Lowellville, near the Pennsylvania state line.

Investigators said three people were hurt, though the extent of those injuries wasn’t clear. One man needed stitches for a leg wound.

The local fire chief says the blast endangered an area that spanned about half a block, with shrapnel shattering windows and damaging some homes and vehicles.

No one had been charged in the case by Sunday.

The blast remains under investigation by local police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Ohio gas prices down; analysts predict further drop

COLUMBUS (AP) — Gas prices for motorists in Ohio start the week a bit lower than they have in recent weeks.

The average for a gallon of regular gas in the state was about $2.63 in Monday’s survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That’s down 12 cents compared with last week and compared with a month ago.

The national average was $2.76 on Monday, a penny cheaper than a week earlier.

Gas prices have remained well below the average from a year ago, when a gallon cost about $3.50. Analysts have predicted prices will continue to drop as summer gives way to fall.