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Mason teacher who made ‘lynch’ comment to black student on administrative leave

Published: Saturday, January 13, 2018 @ 1:59 PM

A white Mason Middle School teacher has been reprimanded by district officials for telling an African-American boy in her class last month that he would be “lynched” by his classmates if he didn’t finish his school work. The teacher has also been ordered to attend cultural sensitivity training classes provided by Mason Schools.(Provided photo)
Staff Writer
A white Mason Middle School teacher has been reprimanded by district officials for telling an African-American boy in her class last month that he would be “lynched” by his classmates if he didn’t finish his school work. The teacher has also been ordered to attend cultural sensitivity training classes provided by Mason Schools.(Provided photo)(Staff Writer)

A white Mason Middle School teacher who told an African-American student his classmates would “lynch” him if he didn’t do his school work has been placed on administrative leave.

Mason Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline sent a message to “Mason City Schools Families” on Saturday with the subject line “Mason Schools Response to Teacher’s Comment” after the story about the teacher gained national attention.

“Racism is real in America, and we all have an obligation to fight it,” Kist-Kline wrote.

» WHAT HAPPENED?: Teacher’s ‘lynch’ comment to black student earns reprimand

According to documents studied by this news organization, the teacher, Renee Thole, was reprimanded Thursday, ordered into cultural sensitivity training and may be fired if it happens again.

In an ABC-TV story cited by this organization’s news partner WCPO-TV, the boy’s mother, Tanisha Agee-Bell, said earlier this week that she wants additional action taken against the teacher.

“I want her removed from the classroom until she can get the proper training,” said Agee-Bell.

Kist-Kline’s message addressed such feelings:

“The teacher is currently on administrative leave while we continue to look into all that has been reported,” she wrote. “We’ve also formally reprimanded the teacher and placed a disciplinary report into her personnel file. This is the first and only time the teacher has been disciplined in more than 22 years with our district.

“Some have called for this teacher to be immediately fired and banned from ever teaching again. We understand and respect the passion of these viewpoints. The teacher has been disciplined. She is required to take further training to learn from this troubling mistake. And our school district will do more to help educators make their classrooms more inclusive and equitable by providing training on how to combat bigotry and bias.”

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Days of rain getting underway

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:53 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:22 PM

Several rounds of rain may lead to flooding problems this week.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Auglaize, Champaign, Darke, Logan, Mercer, and Shelby counties, in effect from 1 a.m. Thursday through 11 a.m. 

Total ice accumulations overnight could reach one-tenth of an inch with limited viability also expected. 

A Flood Watch has also been issued for Butler, Clinton and Warren counties, starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday through 10 a.m. Feb. 25. 

>> Record-breaking warmth this week 


  • FLOOD WATCH for southern Miami Valley begins tonight
  • WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for northern Miami Valley late tonight
  • 2 to 4 inches of rain possible through the weekend

>> 5-Day Forecast


5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

THIS EVENING: On and off rain. Temperatures will drop through the 30s.

Graphic by Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell

>> County-by-County Weather

TONIGHT: Rain likely. As temperatures drop, the rain may become freezing rain across the northern Miami Valley. Elsewhere, temperatures should remain just above freezing, in the lower to middle 30s.

THURSDAY: Rain or freezing rain in the morning then drying out. Clouds will remain. Temperatures will hold in the middle 40s.

Graphic by Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell

FRIDAY: Rain likely. The rain may be heavy at times. It will be mild with highs in the upper 50s.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

SATURDAY: Rain likely. The rain may be heavy at times with a chance for some thunder, mainly south. Highs will be near 60 degrees.

SUNDAY: Rain will taper off early in the morning with clouds breaking. It will be windy and cooler with highs in the middle 50s.

MONDAY: Sunshine returns. Breezy and cool with highs in the lower 50s.


WHIO Weather App

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Google’s new AI can look into your eyes and predict heart attack risk

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:13 PM

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO(William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

Researchers from Google and sibling company Verily Life Sciences have developed a new algorithm using artificial intelligence to predict the risk of heart attack, stroke and other major cardiovascular events.

How does it work? Through the eyes.

» RELATED: Google launches 10,000-person study to predict how and when people get sick

Scientists studied data from 284,335 patients and found the “deep-learning” AI algorithm could identify risk factors based on age, blood pressure, gender, smoking status and others just by scanning the individuals’ retinas.

“The rear interior wall of the eye (the fundus) is chock-full of blood vessels that reflect the body’s overall health,” the Verge reported. “By studying their appearance with camera and microscope, doctors can infer things like an individual’s blood pressure, age, and whether or not they smoke, which are all important predictors of cardiovascular health.”

» RELATED: Google's AI push comes with plenty of people problems

Google’s AI was able to differentiate patients who suffered a major cardiac event in the following five years and those who didn’t with a 70 percent accuracy

>> Read more trending news 

"While doctors can typically distinguish between the retinal images of patients with severe high blood pressure and normal patients, our algorithm could go further to predict the systolic blood pressure within 11 mmHg on average for patients overall, including those with and without high blood pressure," lead author Lily Peng wrote in a Google blog.

» RELATED: Bullied, abused children and teens at higher risk of heart disease, study says

Medical algorithms are traditionally created to redesign experiments to test hypotheses made from observations. But this algorithm found new ways to analyze existing medical data.

“With enough data, it’s hoped that artificial intelligence can then create entirely new medical insight without human direction,” the Verge reported.

» RELATED: Just one cigarette can up your chance for heart disease and stroke, study says

This technology would make it more efficient for doctors to analyze cardiac risk without a blood test, which typically predicts events with 72 percent accuracy. But more tests are necessary before the AI can be used in a clinical setting.

“We look forward to developing and testing our algorithm on larger and more comprehensive datasets. To make this useful for patients, we will be seeking to understand the effects of interventions such as lifestyle changes or medications on our risk predictions and we will be generating new hypotheses and theories to test,” Peng wrote.

The research was published Monday in the journal “Biomedical Engineering.”

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JAY-Z leaves $11,000 tip on $80,000 bar tab for friend’s birthday celebration

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 4:28 PM

Jay-Z and Beyonce Through The Years

JAY-Z reportedly spent big at a New York bar over the weekend.

According to the New York Post’s Page Six, the rapper and father of three spent a combined $110,000 at three locations in the city while celebrating Roc Nation Sports president Juan “OG” Perez, who is also a close friend of Hov.

>> Read more trending news 

Although his wife, Beyonce, daughter, Blue and in-laws, Tina Knowles Lawson and Richard Lawson, were at the NBA All-Star Game, Jay was reportedly at Zuma, a high-end Japanese restaurant, for dinner. He and his friends, other Roc Nation executives, spent about $13,000, according to Page Six.

The tabloid also reported that the group later went to Manhattan’s Made in Mexico Mexican restaurant and spent $9,000 on drinks.

The last stop was Playroom nightclub, where Page Six reported Jay was seen handing out bottles of his own Ace of Spades Champagne to tables. His group paid full price for 40 bottles of the drink.

People reported that a server posted a photo of the tab at Playroom, showing the bottles totaled more than $80,000. The group left an $11,100 tip.

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New Miami asks Ohio Supreme Court to stop $3M speed camera lawsuit. The speeders’ response: Stop stalling.

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 2:57 PM

            Old New Miami speed camera
Old New Miami speed camera

The New Miami speed camera case will continue, this time to Columbus and the Ohio Supreme Court.

The village’s outside counsel James Englert confirmed it will take the case to the high court now that the 12th District Court of Appeals sided with the speeders in the $3 million-plus case. The village will ask Ohio’s high court to rule that it is immune from being sued by a group seeking to collect fines paid during the village’s speed camera program, which was later ruled unconstitutional.

RELATED: 12th District Court of Appeals sides with speeders

“The legislature has given political subdivisions immunity from certain claims and provided protections including payment of judgments over time so that the city or village does not go bankrupt in order to satisfy a judgment,” Englert said. “The village simply wants Ohio’s highest court to rule whether or not it has these protections where the claim is for violation of due process. It’s an important public policy issue.”

Generally speaking, governments are immune from lawsuits except in certain situations, like this one, the appeals court found.

“The action seeking restitution by plaintiffs ‘is not a civil suit for money damages but rather an action to correct the unjust enrichment of’ New Miami,” 12th district Judge Michael Powell wrote for the unanimous court on Jan. 22. “As the Ohio Supreme Court plainly held, ‘A suit that seeks the return of specific funds wrongfully collected or held by the state is brought in equity’ and ‘is consequently not barred by sovereign immunity.’”

Englert said he thinks that opinion is incorrect, and the village wants the high court to look at the case through the lenses of the legislators who gave governments immunity so they wouldn’t go bankrupt.

The speed camera case started in 2013 when a group of speeders challenged the village’s old speed camera program. Former Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Sage declared the village’s program unconstitutional and discontinued the use of the standalone speed catchers.

MORE: Court throws out most claims in case against Butler County judge, prosecutors

The case has gone to the 12th District three times — on class certification and the immunity issue — and was declined review by the Ohio Supreme Court in the class portion of the case.

Josh Engel, one of the speeders’ attorneys, said the village needs to stop using delaying tactics.

“The unanimous decision of the Court of appeals followed a number of relevant Ohio Supreme Court precedents and established law. We believe it is very unlikely that the court will agree to hear this further appeal,” Engel said. “The effect of this appeal is simply more delay — the village continues to avoid its obligation to repay to motorists money it obtained from its unconstitutional scheme.”

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