No decision on Spencer’s speech demand
CINCINNATI — The University of Cincinnati says it isn’t ready to announce a decision on a demand that it allow white nationalist leader Richard Spencer to speak on campus.
A UC spokesman says university officials are continuing to consider “safety and logistical issues” associated with an appearance by Spencer. The comment came after UC’s board of trustees met for about 90 minutes in closed session Thursday.
Attorney Kyle Bristow earlier wrote emails to UC and Ohio State University saying they had until Friday to agree to make campus space available for Spencer to speak or face a lawsuit.
An Ohio State spokesman says the university continues to review the request.
The Ohio universities are the latest targeted by Spencer since he participated in an August white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to deadly violence.
13 indicted for bank fraud
COLUMBUS — A federal grand jury has charged 13 people from Ohio with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
The U.S. attorney for Ohio’s southern district said Wednesday the indictment alleges that from September 2016 until August 2017 defendants conspired to unlawfully negotiate checks and money orders taken from mail collection boxes in the Columbus area.
Authorities say at least four defendants were once Postal Service employees and three of them allegedly gave or sold Postal Service property to allow others to steal checks and money orders. The indictment says co-conspirators allegedly cashed the stolen checks and money orders at ATMs and through bank mobile deposit apps.
The conspiracy also allegedly involved creating counterfeit checks using stolen checks.
Authorities estimate financial institutions lost at least $150,000.
Police: Teen arrested for Snapchat threats
MONROE — A 15-year-old student has been arrested after officials say he threatened to kill fellow students in a video posted to the mobile messaging app Snapchat.
Court documents report the student at Lakota East High School, near Monroe, said in the video he would assassinate multiple kids and put them in a blender.
Lt. Morgan Dallman tells WCPO-TV a parent saw the video and brought it to the attention of the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. Dallman says the student acknowledged making the threats.
The student was charged last week with making terroristic threats, which is a third-degree felony.
Principal Suzanna Davis said Friday there is no threat to Lakota East students. She says the teen will face disciplinary action in accordance with the student code of conduct.
House approves legalization of fireworks
COLUMBUS — The Ohio House has passed a bill that would fully legalize fireworks.
The bill, which passed 77-12 Wednesday, permits residents to shoot off fireworks anytime of the week. It does prohibit people from setting off fireworks while drinking or using drugs and fireworks sellers would be required to distribute safety information.
Sponsor of the bill Republican state Rep. Bill Seitz says local officials would be able to ban fireworks “if they want to be un-American about it.”
Current law allows Ohio residents to purchase fireworks in the state, but they are required to take them out of the state within 48 hours.
The new bill would legalize fireworks by July 2020 if it passes the state Senate and receives a signature from Republican Gov. John Kasich.
Columbus adds safe zones for internet buys
COLUMBUS — Ohio’s largest city is joining a trend of communities creating safety zones where people buying and selling items on the internet can meet.
Columbus on Wednesday announced the creation of five such purchase zones around the city, all located at police substations.
The meeting places are within view of city-owned video surveillance cameras.
Deputy Chief Thomas Quinlan says meeting strangers at police substations is safer than meeting them at places selected by another person.
Earlier this year, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Springfield Township Police Department in northeastern Ohio announced similar safety spots.
The announcements follow national instances of people being robbed and killed while exchanging cash for goods sold online.
Baby rhino born at The Wilds
CUMBERLAND — A safari park and conservation center in Ohio says a southern white rhinoceros has given birth to a female calf.
The Columbus Dispatch reports officials at The Wilds in eastern Ohio say the baby was born Oct. 5 and doesn’t have a name yet. They say the baby is healthy and nursing at the center in Cumberland.
The calf is the second white rhino calf born to mother Anan. Her first calf was a boy named Letterman. He was born in 2014.
The Wilds says the female calf is the 17th white rhino born at the center.
The species remains classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as near-threatened, even with a population in the wild of about 20,400.