Ohio News Briefs

Ohio launches anti-tobacco campaign targeting veterans

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Department of Health has launched an anti-tobacco campaign aimed at getting veterans to put out their cigarettes for good.

Mandy Burkett, chief of the Health Department’s Tobacco Program, says they must curtail tobacco use among groups who are affected the most in order to curb tobacco use throughout the state.

Cleveland.com reports smoking rates among veterans are much higher than the rest of the state’s population. Statistics show the smoking rate among veterans 45 to 54 years old is more than 50 percent higher than that of the average population.

The department is using billboards, digital ads on Google and Facebook and bicycle mini-boards to push the anti-smoking message in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo.

Ohio State fans can buy beer, wine at sports arena

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Patrons at basketball games and other sporting events can soon buy alcoholic beverages throughout an Ohio State University arena.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that beer and wine will be available at the Jerome Schottenstein Center to visitors beyond the venue’s club level. Fans will be able to get alcoholic drinks in the entry and terrace levels of the arena.

The change will be in place for Ohio State men’s and women’s basketball games as well as for men’s hockey games. The men’s basketball team opens its regular season Sunday.

Beer and wine are also being sold as part of a pilot program this year at Ohio Stadium, but only in certain seating areas. Those watching the football games from the stadium’s suites and club seats can buy alcoholic beverages.

Former Ohio teacher accused of luring boys for sex

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A former Ohio elementary school teacher and school board member is accused of using false identities on Facebook to lure teenage boys for sexual relationships.

Thirty-six-year-old Brian Anders was charged this week with a federal count of receipt of material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor. The Lima News reports that’s in addition to four counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor he’s already facing in state court in Allen County in northwest Ohio.

Anders is in jail with a hearing set for Nov. 24. He has pleaded not guilty to the state charges. No attorney information was available.

Authorities say Anders taught music in an elementary school in Lima (LY’-muh). He also was a music director at a church, and served on the Elida School Board.

Trial date set for Ohio lawyer accused of bomb threats

CLEVELAND (AP) — A trial date has been set for a lawyer accused of calling in bomb threats to courthouses in three northeast Ohio county courthouses in 2012.

The (Willoughby) News-Herald reports that trial is scheduled for March 17 for 42-year-old Gregory Moore of Sagamore Hills. He has denied the charges, and his attorney declined to comment.

Moore was indicted in December 2013 on three felony counts of inducing panic for allegedly calling three Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) County Domestic Relations Court employees and warning them that a bomb was about to explode.

Then Moore was indicted on three additional inducing-panic counts for allegedly making similar threats to the Geauga County courthouse in Chardon, and the Painesville county court in Lake County.

Moore was an associate with a Cleveland law firm at the time.

Indictment: Contractor paid workers criminally low wages

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland contractor has been indicted on charges he paid employees criminally low wages while they were working on a public housing project.

Cleveland.com reports 31-year-old Marcus Butler faces 61 counts of making false statements to a government agency.

Prosecutors say he lied on tax forms between 2011 and 2013 and said he paid employees more than $126,000 over what they actually received. He’s the owner of L & B Electric of Northeast Ohio.

The indictment says Butler underpaid employees doing electrical work at buildings owned by the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority.

The work was part of a federally-funded project. Employers working on federal projects are supposed to pay workers a “prevailing wage.” It’s unclear what the workers should have been paid.

Butler couldn’t be reached for comment.