Ohio drivers could provide required proof of insurance using smartphones rather than the typical printed card under a proposed change in state law.
The bill would allow drivers to prove they are insured through information on electronic wireless communications devices such as cellphones, tablets and laptop computers. Drivers could use the digital devices to provide the information to the registrar of motor vehicles, a law-enforcement officer, a traffic-violations bureau or a court.
Dean Fadel, vice president of government relations for the Ohio Insurance Institute, said 24 states have adopted rules similar to House Bill 20, and the institute supports the proposed change in the state’s financial-responsibility law.
The bill would help cut printing and postage costs and pave the way for insurers to provide a convenience that customers say they want, Fadel said.
“All the companies are trying to go more paperless as much as possible,” he said.
A 56-year-old Middletown woman died Thursday morning after suffering injuries in a three-vehicle crash in Liberty Township.
The Butler County coroner’s office pronounced Mary Schaeffer dead at the crash scene at Ohio 747 just north of Willow Ridge Drive, according to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones. Authorities received a call about the crash shortly after 6 a.m.
Two other drivers — Michael McAninch, 41, of Mason, and Denise Wuebben, 59, of Hamilton — suffered injuries and were transported to Atrium Medical Center in Middletown. Their conditions aren’t immediately known.
Police said McAninch was driving a 2004 Ford F-150 pickup northbound on Ohio 747, but his vehicle traveled left of center causing a head-on crash with a 1997 Dodge Caravan Schaeffer was driving southbound. Schaeffer’s vehicle then collided with Wuebben’s 2012 Hyundai vehicle, which was also traveling southbound on Ohio 747.
The road was closed for several hours to investigate the crash and clean up the scene. The Butler County Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team is continuing to investigate the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Parents are taking to Facebook and online support groups to express frustration with what they say is a policy change at Kings Island that doesn’t accommodate the special needs of autistic children.
Sherry and Kendall Yuskewich at Kings Island in 2012. The Blue Ash family makes several trips each year to the amusement park, where they say Kendall, who has autism, has always been permitted to ride rides with little wait times. That changed this summer when the park changed its policy. Provided
In recent years, the Mason amusement park permitted riders with disabilities to enter a ride area with a companion through an alternate entrance and ride after just a brief wait, parents say.
That changed this summer when the park began requiring disabled riders to request a boarding time – equal to a ride’s anticipated wait time for all guests in line – and return at the designated time.
The policy change presents problems for children with autism, who thrive on routine and order and have difficulty waiting, in or out of line, parents say.
Officials from Kings Island’s parent company, Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., say the boarding pass policy has always been in effect but may have been inconsistently enforced at the 11 amusement parks it owns nationwide.
The only change this year is that all parks must abide by the policy, said spokeswoman Stacy Frole.
Bill Shepherd of Mason makes up to 15 excursions to Kings Island each summer with his autistic son, Gage, 20, who struggles with crippling anxiety and impulse and aggression issues. Shepherd says the boarding pass policy doesn’t work for people with autism spectrum disorders.
“Once Gage discovered he couldn’t get on, he was biting his hand, angry and lashing out,’’ he said. “He mostly hurts himself, but he scares everyone around him.”
Chad Yuskewich said his family spent nearly $300 on season passes only to find them virtually unusable under the changes. The Blue Ash dad said he found out about the policy at the family’s first visit to the park this year.
“When I told her, ‘No, we’re not getting on right now, we have to wait,’ we had a meltdown,” said Yuskewich, of his autistic daughter, Kendall, 10, who began kicking, screaming and pushing.
Frole said Cedar Fair worked with the Autism Society, a Bethesda, Md.-based advocacy organization, to develop information for parents in planning visits to Cedar Fair parks. Those tips are published online on each park’s website.
“We review our policies on a regular basis and when we see inconsistencies, we implement best practices policies,” she said. “We do our best to accommodate our guests, and that’s why we have this equal access policy in place.”
Jennifer Repella, vice president of programs with the Autism Society, said her group supports the boarding pass policy, but had no role in its implementation.
“There’s no question that many people with autism can’t wait in line, but there’s no question that a kid with AD/HD or a person with a back problem can’t wait in line. Where do you draw the line?
“We don’t want preferential treatment, we want equal access.”
The endorsement isn’t shared by all Autism Society chapters. Patty Proctor, executive director of the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati, said her chapter has received dozens of complaints from parents since Kings Island opened April 27.
That prompted the organization to issue a statement to parents on its Facebook page on May 13:
“The procedure that was used in the past regarding avoiding lines was dropped by (Kings Island). In anticipation of making a policy change, The Autism Society of America was contacted to serve in a consulting role to help the park develop new procedures to assist our families. ASA and the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati did not suggest the park system drop the previous policy and there continues to be ongoing discussion with the parks as to how to best meet the needs of all guests, including those with autism.”
A popular Food Network show is filming today and tomorrow at Aponte’s Pizzeria in Mason.
Robert Irvine, host of Food Network’s “Restaurant Impossible.” (credit: Chris Potter)
“Restaurant: Impossible” helps to turn around struggling restaurants by working with the owners to improve the menu, staff and decor.
Hosted by celebrity chef Robert Irvine, the brawny British restaurateur and his team of designers have 48 hours to revamp the eatery with a $10,000 budget.
A grand re-opening is planned for 7 p.m. Thursday. Reservations booked within 10 minutes of the announcement last week on MasonBuzz, said restaurant owner Tony Aponte.
Aponte said he learned to make pizza in his native New Jersey. The restaurant’s menu also features subs, salads and baked pastas. He opened the Mason eatery in 2005 and moved it into its current location at 312 Reading Road in 2011.
Cast, crew and restaurant employees are not allowed to discuss details of the episode until after it airs, which should be sometime in August, show producers say.
More than 75 volunteers marathon-rode the Racer roller coaster at Kings Island Sunday, June 9. The annual fundraising event benefits Give Kids the World, a non-profit organization that gives weeklong vacations to children with serious illnesses. Photo provided/Kings Island
Kings Island’s annual Coasting for Kids raised more than $15,000 benefiting children with life-threatening illnesses.
More than 75 people participated in the Sunday fundraiser, in which volunteers secure pledges to marathon-ride the Racer and Diamondback roller coasters. Proceeds benefit Give Kids the World Village, a Central Florida non-profit resort that provides cost-free, weeklong vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
KI officials designate special cars specifically for the Coasting for Kids group, who are allowed to ride continuously without waiting in line.
Each rider pledges to raise at least $75 in donations. Dave Cornell, of Cincinnati, was the top fundraiser at Kings Island, raising more than $1,000.
Ten other Cedar Fair parks — KI’s parent company — participated in the event, which raised a total of $150,000 at all the parks combined.
If you think those clouds overhead look a little ominous, you’re correct.
By 4:30 p.m., Butler and Warren counties are expected to be hit with a strong thunderstorm, the National Weather Service in Wilmington said. The service issued an alert after 4 p.m., when meteorologists spotted a storm on radar near Ohio 63 at 741, moving east at 30 mph.
“Storm hazards include winds to 40 mph (and) very heavy rain,” the alert said, warning that water will pond on roads and may quickly fill roadside ditches and small streams.
Alleged marijuana grower Justin Baker, who authorities said was part of the supply chain that distributed the drug to high school students in Mason and Kings districts, will be set free after his conviction was overturned on June 10, 2013. / Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Sheila McLaughlin reports:
A Warren County man who was part of the supply chain for marijuana sales at Mason and Kings high schools will be freed from prison after the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals threw out his conviction.
Authorities described it as a potential $3 million business.
The 12th District ruled that none of Baker’s alleged crimes occurred in Warren County and that he should have been tried in either Butler or Hamilton counties.
Prosecutors contended that Baker, 32, engaged in a pattern of corrupt activity involving other dealers and growers. Appellate judges, however, said prosecutors did not prove the marijuana Baker sold through a series of growers or dealers identified in the alleged ring ever made it to Pagenstecher for distribution in Warren County.
The appellate judges noted their ruling resulted in a “distasteful outcome” because Baker legally cannot be tried again for the same crimes.
Baker, who was one of seven adults charged in the case, had waived a jury and was tried and convicted of 10 felony charges before Warren County Common Pleas Judge Robert Peeler.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said he is reviewing the ruling and may file an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
A Warren County grand jury has indicted a Loveland woman on a slew of charges in connection with a police pursuit last month that reached speeds as fast as 125 mph and left a Mason police officer injured.
Benji Pauline Brown, 43, has been indicted on two first-degree felony counts of felonious assault; failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony; forgery and unauthorized use of a vehicle, both fifth-degree felonies, and resisting arrest, a second-degree misdemeanor.
The indictments were announced Monday.
The incident began May 19 when an Ohio State Patrol trooper discovered Brown sleeping alone in a stolen Dodge Caravan at the rest stop off Interstate 71. She took off, according to a statement from OSP Lt. Matt Hamilton. Investigators don’t think alcohol or drugs were involved, the statement said.
After chasing Brown for 23 miles, troopers arrested her after she crashed into a trooper’s cruiser on I-71 near Western Row Road. Brown was taken to Arrow Springs Hospital, where she was treated and released, then taken to the Warren County Jail.
A trooper and a Mason police officer were hurt during the incident. Mason Police Officer Scott Burdick suffered deep cuts and burns to his hands and forearm while trying to lay down stop sticks to try to stop Brown. The trooper hurt his hand and forearms during the crash. Both were treated for minor injuries.
Brown is being held at the Warren County Jail on a $250,000 bond.