STATE BRIEFS


Boy dies from flu; hospitals report rise in cases

DAYTON (AP) — Health officials say a 4-year-old boy from southwest Ohio has died from the flu in what is shaping up to be one of the most severe flu seasons in recent years.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Wednesday that Jonah Rieben, of Clayton, died Jan. 6 at a hospital. The office didn’t release other details.

It’s the first flu death reported by the state since flu season started in October. In Ohio, adult deaths believed to be associated with the flu aren’t required to be reported to public health agencies.

The state does track flu-associated hospitalizations, which are rising. The state has seen over 3,800 flu-associated hospitalizations this season. Officials say 1,750 of those were during the first week of January.

Flu cases typically peak between December and February.

Man indicted on murder charges in baby’s death

TOLEDOo (AP) — An Ohio man suspected of killing his girlfriend’s 11-month-old son who was found unresponsive in a bathtub has been indicted on charges including aggravated murder.

A grand jury on Tuesday also charged 30-year-old Eric Mathis, of Toledo, with felonious assault and child-endangering.

The jailed man previously said he will hire a lawyer, but available court records didn’t indicate Wednesday whether he has done so. The Blade reports that Mathis could face up to life in prison if he’s convicted.

Toledo police say the baby, Nehemiah Wright, was found face down in a bathtub and was pronounced dead at a hospital on New Year’s Day. Authorities say an autopsy showed it wasn’t a drowning but that the boy died of blunt force trauma injuries to the abdomen.

Prosecutors not changing approach to marijuana

CLEVELAND (AP) — Top federal prosecutors in Ohio say their approach to marijuana cases won’t change after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled a tougher approach to federal pot enforcement.

The U.S. attorney for northern Ohio, Justin Herdman, tells Cleveland.com that marijuana cases prosecuted through that office tend to be bundled with charges for other drugs or crimes. Herdman and his counterpart in southern Ohio, Benjamin Glassman, say they’ll continue to prosecute marijuana cases.

They note that the drug remains illegal under federal law and that federal law hasn’t changed because of Sessions’ guidance.

Sessions lifted an Obama-era policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal.

Ohio is launching a medical marijuana program but hasn’t legalized the drug for recreational use.

Resident found outside nursing home died of hypothermia

PANDORA (AP) — Authorities say a 76-year-old woman found dead outside the northern Ohio nursing home where she lived died of hypothermia.

The Putnam County sheriff is investigating the death of Phyllis Campbell at the Hilty Home in Pandora, roughly 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Toledo.

The sheriff’s office says Campbell was found dead outside the facility on Sunday morning. Temperatures that morning were still below the freezing point around much of Ohio.

The sheriff’s office said Tuesday that an autopsy shows Campbell died from hypothermia. The facility and investigators handling the case haven’t released further information about the circumstances of Campbell’s death.

Someone answering the phone at the care facility said no one was available to comment on the case early Tuesday.

State prison population continues slow decline

COLUMBUS (AP) — Updated records show Ohio’s adult prison population is continuing to fall in the new year.

Data from the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows the state housed 49,420 inmates on Tuesday. That’s 1,217 fewer inmates than a year ago at this time.

The agency reported last month that the number of inmates had fallen below 50,000 for the first time in four years, giving hope to officials trying to reduce the number of inmates behind bars.

The state is eager to reduce the number of inmates to save money and to prevent crime by keeping low-level offenders close to home and the support of family and social services.

VA’s former acting chief of staff convicted

CINCINNATI (AP) — A former acting chief of staff at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center has been convicted of a charge of distributing a controlled substance.

Authorities say a federal jury in Cincinnati found 67-year-old Dr. Barbara Temeck guilty Tuesday. The former Department of Veterans Affairs official was accused of writing three painkiller prescriptions for a private patient. The jury acquitted her of two charges.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports prosecutors argued the prescriptions written for a former VA official’s wife violated Temeck’s prescribing license because her former boss’ wife isn’t a veteran.

The newspaper reports Temeck testified she wrote only one prescription because it was an emergency. She argued she was targeted for her efforts to crack down on how the Cincinnati VA had been run.

A message was left for her attorney.

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