Ohio News Briefs

Fear of concussions spur new rules for high school football

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — In the hopes of reducing the risk of concussions and head injuries in high school football, the Ohio High School Athletic Commission’s board of directors voted unanimously Monday to limit full-contact drills during practices.

The changes were recommended by the National Federation of High School Associations’ concussion task force, and the changes “bring Ohio up to a place as a national leader in this area,” said OHSAA Commissioner Dan Ross.

“Like many of our regulations, these guidelines are to be followed and monitored by member schools and coaches, but we are fortunate in Ohio that many coaches have already been following these safety measures,” Ross said. “There will always be a risk for concussion, but football is safer now than it has ever been, and these guidelines will make it even safer.”

Under the guidelines, full-contact is allowed after a five-day adjustment period during preseason practice and is only permitted during one session of two-a-day preseason practices to give players recovery time.

The changes also limit players to 30 minutes of full-contact practice per day and 60 minutes per week during the regular season.

The measures are effective immediately, but Ross said it’s the coaches’ responsibility to make sure their practices keep in line with the changes.

“These regulations are being put into place for the safety of our student-athletes, and it is incumbent on coaches to monitor the contact in their practices,” Ross said. “Our coaches are educators and leaders. They want what’s best for kids, and these regulations are in line with these safety recommendations.”

Ohio University donor faces protest over race-related email

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) — Some students and faculty at Ohio University want a major contributor to leave the school foundation’s board and have his name removed from a campus building after he advised administrators to “play the race card” in a dispute over purchasing a new residence for the university president.

More than 200 had signed a petition against Steven Schoonover as of Monday.

The protest follows emergence Friday of an email Schoonover wrote April 2, after hundreds opposed a plan to spend $1.2 million on a new residence for President Roderick McDavis, who is black. In the note, Schoonover urged university leaders to do what he said Democrats do when Republicans criticize President Barack Obama: “call them racists.”

A university spokeswoman tells The Columbus Dispatch Schoonover made his remarks to express his personal opinion.

Man charged with vandalism at ancient Ohio earthworks site

PEEBLES, Ohio (AP) — A man accused of driving his truck onto an ancient Native American earthwork in southern Ohio has been charged with vandalism.

A prosecutor says 19-year-old Daniel Coleman Dargavell could be sentenced to up to a year in prison if convicted of vandalizing the Serpent Mound site, a designated National Historic Landmark about 70 miles east of Cincinnati.

A grand jury may consider charges. Dargavell’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

The Ohio History Connection owns the site. Spokeswoman Emmy Beach says a pick-up truck was driven onto a 9-foot Adena mound at the site over the Fourth of July weekend. Officials said the torn sod can be repaired.

Officials are exploring ways to increase security without limiting public access.

Coroner: Woman killed by dog suffered multiple injuries

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — A medical examiner says a woman fatally mauled by a pit bull in a Cleveland suburb died from bite wounds and crushing injuries to the neck, throat and body.

The cause of death for 71-year-old Annie Williams of Cleveland was released Tuesday. She was attacked Sunday while visiting relatives at the Shaker Heights home where the dog lived and later died at a hospital. A neighbor stopped the attack by shooting the dog as it mauled Williams in the driveway of the relatives’ home. Police later shot and killed the dog.

A Shaker Heights police spokesman said Tuesday there was no new information to release about the attack. He said Monday that no arrests had been made because no one living at the home had claimed ownership of the dog.

Annual Soap Box Derby events to begin next week in Akron

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — More than 400 participants and their families are coming to Akron next week for the annual Soap Box Derby.

A full week of activities is planned, culminating in the 78th version of the races on Saturday, July 25. Opening ceremonies are set to begin Monday.

Boy and girls as young as 7 will be driving the gravity-powered cars. The kids come from all over the U.S. as well as Canada, New Zealand, Germany and Japan. Racers were able to qualify for the derby by winning just one race in their local community or by being a rally champion after competing throughout the year.

The derby has taken place in Akron every year except for its inaugural race in 1934 when it was held in Dayton. Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. is sponsoring the races.

Ohio drivers search for parking amid rise in large trucks

MONROE, Ohio (AP) — Truck drivers and industry leaders in Ohio say the number of parking spots for drivers to stop and rest hasn’t kept pace with the increasing amount of semitrailers on the road in recent years.

The Dayton Daily News reports the National Highway Traffic Administration’s count of large trucks registered nationwide has increased from 8.2 million in 2004 to 10.6 million in 2013. In Ohio, that increase has been accompanied by more truck accidents — the state saw a record of nearly 21,300 truck crashes last year, involving 143 fatalities.

Federal rules say truck drivers can work no more than a total of 14 hours before a mandatory 10 hours of down time. But drivers say sometimes trucks have driven miles illegally just to find a place to park.

Ohio woman to continue sentence for elderly mother’s death

BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio judge has denied early release to a 77-year-old woman sentenced to 18 months in prison after admitting she caused her 100-year-old mother’s death by severe neglect.

Mary Strawser pleaded guilty in March to reckless homicide and theft from an elderly person, and was eligible to apply for early release after 30 days in prison.

Prosecutors said Strawser neglected her mother, Blanche Cohen, for years, leaving her to die on a couch in a dilapidated trailer in Rushsylvania.

Logan County Common Pleas Judge Mark O’Connor denied Strawser’s request in a Monday ruling.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Strawser wrote to O’Connor that high blood pressure kept her from caring for her mother, and she thought a developmentally disabled man also living in the trailer was taking care of her.

Former police chief, deputy chiefs file suit against Toledo

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A former Toledo police chief and four former deputy police chiefs have filed suit against the city in an attempt to recover portions of their pensions.

The Blade newspaper reports the pensions of the men, including former Chief Derrick Diggs, were suspended by former Mayor Michael Bell during a period of financial emergency.

Between Sept. 2009 and May 2012 the five were declared exempt employees and paid 5 percent of their pension pick-up and a higher medical co-pay than members of the Toledo Police Command Officers Association.

The city approved a $1.27 million settlement in January with the command officers union over city-imposed losses sustained by its 149 members.

The suit alleges the chiefs should also be reimbursed for their pension payments but the city has refused.