Ohio News Notebook

ECOT seeks new designation

COLUMBUS — The giant online charter school locked in a legal fight with Ohio officials over millions of dollars is moving to be designated as a dropout prevention school if the state approves that change.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow board officials Tuesday approved switching the designation. A document says the change would begin immediately with the 2017-18 school year, but would be subject to state approval by December.

The newspaper reports ECOT officials declined to answer questions about the move following Tuesday’s meeting.

Dropout recovery schools get a separate, much more lenient state report than traditional schools. The new designation also could allow ECOT to expand enrollment at a time when it’s under an order by the state Department of Education to refund $60 million for lax attendance.

Sheriff: Deputy charged with telecomm harassment

CINCINNATI — The Hamilton County sheriff says a deputy who allegedly sent sexually explicit photos to two women has been arrested on misdemeanor charges of telecommunications harassment.

Sheriff Jim Neil says 25-year-old Deputy Joshua Noel was taken to jail Wednesday. Court records don’t list an attorney for him.

Neil says the department received a complaint Aug. 11 from an 18-year old woman who said Noel was sending her pictures through social media accounts after pulling her over for a traffic stop. The department says Noel sent sexually explicit images and videos of himself.

Neil says a second complainant said Noel also sent her several sexually explicit images and videos of himself through social media.

The sheriff says Noel is on administrative leave pending the case’s outcome.

Coroner: Baby’s death appears to be heat-related

MASON — An Ohio coroner says preliminary findings indicate the death of a 15-month-old girl who was left inside a car by her mother as the woman worked in a nearby office building was heat-related.

The mother found the girl motionless around 5 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of Proctor & Gamble offices in the southwest Ohio city of Mason. The mother is a Proctor & Gamble employee but hasn’t been identified.

She made a frantic 911 call, telling the dispatcher her daughter was dead when asked to perform CPR.

The Warren County prosecutor said Thursday that any discussion of criminal charges against the mother would be premature until Mason police complete their investigation.

A coroner’s investigator said a small child would be especially susceptible to heat such a situation.

Large fish kills linked to livestock manure

TOLEDO — Investigators from three state agencies are looking at whether any laws were broken after manure spread on Ohio farm fields caused three separate fish kills.

A state wildlife investigator said Thursday that it’s not clear yet whether too much manure was used or whether it was put on the fields too close to predicted storms.

A new Ohio law put in place to combat algae in Lake Erie prohibits farmers from putting manure on fields before heavy rains because it contains phosphorous that feeds algae.

The three fish kills in northwestern Ohio and another one being investigated in western Ohio have left behind tens of thousands of dead fish this month.

About 15,000 fish along a 10-mile stretch of a creek in Williams County were found dead last week.

Celeste’s son backs Democrat Betty Sutton

COLUMBUS — The son of former Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste is backing Democrat Betty Sutton in next year’s race for Ohio governor.

Christopher Celeste said Wednesday he’ll co-chair the ex-congresswoman’s campaign. The Columbus entrepreneur sided with Sutton over three other announced Democrats and a fourth considering a run.

Celeste’s father also is a Democrat.

Christopher Celeste attributed his decision to what he called Sutton’s experience, political tenacity and creativity in solving tough problems.

His support allows Sutton to broaden her economic message after earning 20 labor organizations’ endorsement.

Celeste has spent years helping create, lead or launch projects including political action committees, tech startups, e-commerce websites and small-scale neighborhood developments.

He emailed supporters that he believes Sutton can “enthuse” Democrats and attract independent and Republican voters. He says early fundraising is key.

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Associated Press