Miami U. grad picked as Romney's running mate

Published: Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 8:17 AM
Updated: Saturday, August 11, 2012 @ 6:21 PM


            House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney before Romney spoke at the Grain Exchange in Milwaukee, in this April 3, 2012 file photo. Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, according to a Republican with knowledge of the development. They will appear together Saturday Aug. 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the newly minted GOP ticket to the nation.
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduces Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney before Romney spoke at the Grain Exchange in Milwaukee, in this April 3, 2012 file photo. Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate, according to a Republican with knowledge of the development. They will appear together Saturday Aug. 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Va., at the start of a four-state bus tour to introduce the newly minted GOP ticket to the nation.

Mitt Romney’s decision to select Republican congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate is a bold stroke designed to convince skeptical conservatives that as president he will crusade for lower taxes and curbing federal spending.

Analysts acknowledge that Romney’s choice Saturday could prod voters to focus on the federal deficit and the sluggish economy as opposed to Romney’s career with a Boston investment firm.

But some GOP officials privately fear that the Republican ticket could hurt itself in the crucial state of Florida, which has 29 electoral votes, by emphasizing restraints on the rapidly growing entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Ryan, a Wisconsin lawmaker who chairs the House budget committee, has pressed for a sweeping overhaul of Medicare’s current fee-for-service plan into a system in which the federal government would subsidize private insurance plans so seniors could buy their own policies. Although Ryan has stressed his Medicare plan would not into effect for a decade, it could prove toxic with many seniors.

In addition, even though Ryan graduated from Miami University in Oxford, many Republicans were convinced that Sen. Rob Portman had a better chance than Ryan to tip Ohio toward Romney.

“It was a bold choice and it will virtually guarantee that the issues of the role of the government and fiscal responsibility will be a top priority in the general election,’’ said David Walker, former comptroller of the United States and founder of Comeback America Initiative, a nonpartisan organization that champions lower deficits.

“It increases the likelihood that the debates will be more substantive and the American people will be provided with a real choice,’’ Walker said. “And whoever wins the election will be able to claim they have a mandate for action.’’

But even as many Republicans praised Ryan as smart and possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of the federal budget, they know that Obama and Democrats will hammer the GOP ticket on the type of Medicare changes that Ryan has championed as chairman of the House budget committee.

“Paul Ryan is a great guy,’’ said Barry Bennett, a Republican consultant in Washington with close ties to Portman. “My heart’s 100 percent with Paul Ryan.’’

“But my head says we need to talk about how people are hurting (economically), not how to end Medicare. I just hope it doesn’t turn into a debate on how much to cut entitlement programs. If it does, we’re going to lose.’’

Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said that by picking Ryan, Romney’s “chances have been irreparably harmed in Florida. The majority of Floridians understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare.’’

As he introduced Ryan to an enthusiastic rally in Virginia on Saturday, Romney praised Ryan as “an intellectual leader of the Republican Party. He understands the fiscal challenges facing America: our exploding deficits and crushing debt – and the fiscal catastrophe that awaits us if we don’t change course.”

Neither Romney nor Ryan has much international experience.

“Who would have thought that only a decade after 9/11, the Republicans would have so little foreign policy experience on the Presidential ticket?” asked University of Dayton political science lecturer Dan Birdsong. “This underscores a simple ‘truth’ about presidential elections: domestic policy trumps foreign policy.”

Ryan signaled an aggressive course when he said that Obama and many others in Washington “have refused to make difficult decisions because they are more worried about their next election than they are about the next generation. We might have been able to get away with that before, but not now. We’re in a different, and dangerous, moment. We’re running out of time — and we can’t afford four more years of this.’’

Yet Romney appears to understand the potential danger with Ryan’s Medicare plans. The Romney campaign has advised its surrogate speakers that are differences between Romney and Ryan on some of the major issues, including Medicare revisions and reforming entitlements.

Federal spending on Medicare, which pays for health coverage for seniors, is projected to nearly double from $560 billion this year to $1 trillion in 2022. By 2022, Washington will spend almost as much on the entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as it spends today for the entire federal budget.

Without restraining the growth of the entitlement programs, the only way the government can eventually balance the budget is through either large tax increases on all Americans or politically unpopular reductions in spending for national defense and domestic programs.

While the Ryan choice will thrill economic conservatives, particularly those who write for the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard, many analysts doubt whether he can broaden the appeal of the ticket to the handful of swing voters in a dozen states who will decide the election.

“It makes no sense whatsoever,’’ said one political strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity. “You don’t win elections with your base vote and this guy doesn’t get you anything beyond the base. What’s the No.1 rule? Don’t pick anybody who can hurt you? Do you think swing voters in Ohio are going to like this guy’s message?’’

Naturally, local Democrats and Republicans had different opinions on how Ryan would affect the local vote. Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Rob Scott said having Ryan on the ticket will make his job easier because so many voters are looking for a real plan with specifics.

“There’s been a huge push for good fiscal management in our government, from Washington D.C. to Columbus to here locally,” Scott said. “And Congressman Ryan’s plan speaks directly to that.”

But county Democratic Chairman Mark Owens said he was looking forward to spelling out pieces of Ryan’s plan to voters, saying it would help the Obama campaign.

“Raising the tax burden on the middle class, cutting education through Head Start programs and Pell Grants that allow middle income families to go to college, all that’s going to have an effect on everybody in the Miami Valley,” Owens said.

Ryan, who was born, raised and still lives in Janesville, Wis., has an interesting parallel to the Miami Valley in the auto industry. General Motors closed its Janesville Assembly plant on Dec. 23, 2008, the same day as GM’s Moraine Assembly plant closed here. Janesville made trucks and SUVs, as did the Moraine plant.

Ryan voted in favor of the auto industry bailout, but later explained to The Daily Caller newspaper that he was told the industry was going to get government money no matter what, and he voted for what he thought was the better of two options.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich hailed the choice of Ryan, saying “he’s got a keen intellect and the kind of courage to think big on solutions that America needs from its leaders. That he’s a graduate of one of Ohio’s great universities – Miami University – doesn’t hurt either.’’

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, said that “the selection of Paul Ryan shows that we are serious about putting this country back on the path to prosperity. Unfortunately, the President has failed to offer a plan to put Ohioans back to work or to end the largest federal deficits since World War II. Governor Romney has a plan, and our country is in desperate need of leadership.”

Asked how Ryan was different from other possible Romney running mates, Turner said Ryan is “young, dynamic, intelligent, well-studied and very well-spoken.” He said the fact that Ryan has been overwhelmingly re-elected six times in an otherwise Democratic district is proof that he can appeal across party lines.

Romney will be back in Ohio on Tuesday as part of a four-state bus tour. He will stop in Chillicothe and eastern Ohio, but the campaign has not yet said whether Ryan will be with him.

Coroner can’t determine sex of buried Carlisle baby; hearing delayed

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 9:36 AM
Updated: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 2:03 PM


            Brooke Skylar Richardson, right, and her attorney Charles M. Rittgers appear before Judge Rupert E. Ruppert last Friday during her arraignment hearing in Franklin Municipal Court. Richardson, 18, is charged with reckless homicide for the May death of her baby after its remains were found in the backyard of her home. If convicted of the third-degree felony, she faces one to five years in prison. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Brooke Skylar Richardson, right, and her attorney Charles M. Rittgers appear before Judge Rupert E. Ruppert last Friday during her arraignment hearing in Franklin Municipal Court. Richardson, 18, is charged with reckless homicide for the May death of her baby after its remains were found in the backyard of her home. If convicted of the third-degree felony, she faces one to five years in prison. ED RICHTER/STAFF

UPDATE@1 p.m.:

Warren County’s coroner today said investigators have not been able to determine the sex of the baby found buried in the backyard of a Carlisle home.

The baby’s mother, 18-year-old Brooke Skylar Richardson, a cheerleader who graduated this year from Carlisle High School, faces one count of reckless homicide.

Warren County Coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove said today that his office was not able to determine the sex of the infant from the remains, which are two months old. The criminal complaint against Richards alleges she caused the infant’s death on or about May 7.

MORE: Investigators search 3 times in 10 days in Carlisle baby remains case

“We may eventually do DNA testing, but we could not determine that (the sex) from the remains,” Uptegrove said.

The sex of the baby has not been released by deputies or the prosecutor.

Also today, the defense attorney for Richardson did not give a reason for seeking a delay in a court hearing scheduled for next week.

Richardson, of Eagle Ridge Drive, was scheduled to appear in Franklin Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing on the charge of reckless homicide. Attorney Charlie M. Rittgers requested a continuance, which was granted by Judge Rupert Ruppert.

The court document obtained by this news outlet gives not reason for the request. Rittgers did however, give a brief statement via email.

MORE: Professor on baby death: Hard to know how common it is

“We agreed to a continuance because we think it is in the best interest of Skylar,” Rittgers said.

The teen is free on $15,000 bond.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office and Prosecutor David Fornshell have released few facts about the case that began 10 days ago with a call from a doctor’s office to Carlisle police about a possible stillborn baby. The remains were unearth and Richardson was charged with reckless homicide.

Fornshell made it clear that the evidence indicates the baby was born alive.

INITIAL REPORT:

A Franklin judge has continued a preliminary hearing for a Carlisle woman accused of reckless homicide for the May death of her baby after its remains were found in the backyard of her home.

MORE: Warren County buried baby case: 5 things we know now

Franklin Municipal Court officials said that Charles M. Rittgers, the attorney for Brooke Skylar Richardson, 18, filed a motion late Tuesday afternoon to continue the preliminary hearing until 5 p.m. Aug. 8. Judge Rupert Ruppert signed the order Tuesday night after court ended.

Three separate searches in 10 days of a Carlisle house where the remains of an infant were found buried are part of continuing investigation against the mother and anyone else involved in the baby’s death, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said Tuesday.

Richardson, who is free on a $15,000 bond, had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 1 on the third-degree felony charge.

MORE: Could Ohio cheerleader have used safe haven law to give up baby?

Investigators from the Warren County Coroner’s Office and Warren County Sheriff’s Office first went to the Richardson house on July 14, unearthing remains of a baby. They have been back to the Eagle Ridge Drive property twice since, including going inside the house Monday night, gathering more evidence.

“This is an ongoing investigation. We are investigating what happened and who may have been involved,” Fornshell said, adding if that investigation led other others involved, they would be charged.

MORE: Carlisle baby alive at birth, prosecutor says after teen mom in court

Richardson was a cheerleader and had graduated from Carlisle High School this past spring, according to Carlisle School Superintendent Larry Hook. He declined to comment on Richardson, citing privacy laws.

According to the criminal complaint filed against her in Franklin Municipal Court, “On or about May 7, 2017, one Brooke Richardson … did recklessly cause the death of another, or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy.”

PREVIOUS REPORT: Anthropologist examining remains of baby found in Carlisle yard

Investigators initially received a tip from a doctor’s office that a Carlisle teenager may have delivered a stillborn infant. Investigators later found an infant’s remains buried in the backyard at the residence in the 100 block of Eagle Ridge Drive.

Staff Writer Lauren Pack contributed to this report.

VIDEO: McDonald’s hit-and-run crash suspect arrested

Published: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 @ 4:16 PM

Surveillance video has been released of a truck that slammed into several parked vehicles in the parking lot of a local McDonald's.

UPDATE @ 1:17 p.m. (July 26):

Deputies have arrested the man suspected of crashing into seven vehicles in the parking lot of the McDonald’s on Kings Mill Road.

Timothy Tacket, 30, of South Lebanon, was charged with reckless operation, leaving the scene of a crash and driving under suspension, deputies said.

OTHER NEWS: Man shot by deputies, police in Harrison Twp. dies from injuries

Tacket was booked into the Warren County Jail and deputies thanked the public for assisting in identifying him as the suspect.

INITIAL REPORT:

Deputies are looking for the suspect who hit seven vehicles in the parking lot of the McDonald’s on Kings Mill Road in Deerfield Twp. this morning.

Video released by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office shows the black pickup truck driven by a man with a woman in the passenger’s seat strike multiple vehicles in the lot.

OTHER NEWS: Family asks for prayers for boy, 3, following pool incident

The male suspect has a tattoo on the underside of his left forearm and possibly additional tattoos on the upper arm, deputies said. The truck is described as a black Ford F150 with a tan stripe running around the bottom of the vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office.  There also was a white decal on the center of the rear window, deputies said.

Deputies said the truck should have heavy damage to the front and passenger side of the vehicle.

Video catches man abandoning infant in parking lot

All of the vehicles struck were unoccupied and two of the vehicles had major damage.

Anyone with information on the suspect or suspect vehicle can contact the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 513-701-1800.

Cities can turn red light cameras back on; state threatens to fight back

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 9:11 AM
Updated: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 10:19 AM

Whaley reacts to legal victory

The Ohio Supreme Court said in a 5-2 decision issued Wednesday that the 2015 state law that makes it all but impossible for local governments to use traffic cameras is unconstitutional because it conflicts with cities’ home-rule authority.

The decision impacts Ohio’s 8 million licensed drivers, gives cities the green-light to start using traffic cameras again and delivers a win to municipalities that have seen an erosion of home-rule powers in other court decisions. It also is an invitation for lawmakers opposed to traffic cameras to look for other ways to curtail their use.

The city of Dayton filed the legal challenge against the state of Ohio after legislators passed the law that curtails local authority to use traffic enforcement cameras.

Dayton challenged three elements of the law, which took effect in March 2015:

• that a full-time police officer be posted at each camera in operation;

• that cities conduct a three-year traffic study before deploying a camera;

• that speeders be given “leeway” — 6 miles per hour over in a school zone and 10 mph over elsewhere — before issuing tickets.

DAYTON REACTION

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said residents want traffic cameras in their neighborhoods to make roadways less dangerous for motorists and pedestrians.

“We get asked regularly by neighborhoods to please put cameras in,” Whaley said.

Dayton still has fixed traffic cameras along various roadways and at intersections across the city, but the city no longer has a contract with the company that previously operated the devices.

Related: Return of Dayton’s red light cameras uncertain after Supreme Court arguments

Dayton officials said they will review the Supreme Court’s decision to decide how to proceed, and plans for traffic cameras are expected to change considerably.

The city wants to establish a thoughtful and effective camera program that improves community safety while not taxing law enforcement’s limited resources, Whaley said.

“We’ll go back and will be very forthright with the community about what we’re going to do, just like we’ve been the entire time,” Whaley said. “I’m very pro camera, but this ruling just came down.”

STATE LAWMAKERS MAY CONTINUE FIGHT

Even as city officials look at turning the cameras back on, state lawmakers are vowing to look for ways to shut them down again.

State Rep. Bill Setiz, R-Cincinnati, the architect of the law declared unconstitutional, said the ruling only applies to home-rule cities and the law is still in place for Ohio’s 1,300 townships and 88 counties as well as villages. When lawmakers return from summer recess in September, Seitz said they’ll consider requiring photo-enforcement tickets go through municipal courts instead of an administrative process.

The state may withhold local government fund money from cities that receive money from traffic cameras, he said. “Since they’re getting money that way, they obviously don’t need our money. I think those two things would have a very salutary effect in taking the profit out of the policing for profit equation and render the decision today a pyrrhic victory for those folks like Dayton and Toledo that think they are above the law.”

Seitz said an outright ban could be put in place through a constitutional amendment — something he said is not being considered at this time.

Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said “I think the people of Ohio overwhelmingly oppose red light cameras. The Legislature tends to feel the same way.”

Obhof said he has yet to review the ruling in the Dayton case. He noted that he would consider a ban bill if he believes it has a chance of withstanding a constitutional challenge. “It doesn’t do us any good for us to pass another law that we expect to be struck down. So anything that we would do from here out, as when we worked on it the first time, we’ll take our time, try to be thoughtful about it and come up with a result that maybe the courts will agree with, maybe they won’t, but one that we think going in will withstand scrutiny.”

New restrictions force an officer to be present if drivers are ticketed for speeding or running red lights

Related: Dayton to reboot its traffic camera program

Before the law took effect, Dayton asked the common pleas court to declare elements of the law unconstitutional. The trial court agreed with the city but the Second District Court of Appeals overturned that decision. The city then took it to the supreme court.

THE RULING

The Ohio Constitution, adopted in 1912, gives municipalities “home-rule” powers of self-governance as long as local ordinances don’t conflict with the state’s general laws.

Justice Patrick Fischer, writing the majority opinion, said that the law “infringes on the municipality’s’s legislative authority without serving an overriding state interest and is therefore unconstitutional.”

The Supreme Court ruled that the requirement that an officer be present while cameras are operating contradicts the purpose of deploying cameras to conserve police resources. It also said prescribing a “leeway” improperly dictates to cities how they must enforce speed limits within the city limits and it operates “as a de facto increase in speed limits in the limited areas covered by a traffic camera.”

Justices William O’Neill and Patrick DeWine dissented on the ruling, saying that the law promotes the uniform application of traffic regulations across the state.

In his dissent, DeWine said justices in the majority were over-stepping into legislators’ roles.

Related: Traffic cameras coming back to Dayton at these locations

“But today, the plurality in essence says we know what is in the sate’s interest better than those 132 representatives of the people do. And if we don’t think a law is a good idea, then it must not be a general law, and we can strike it down,” DeWine wrote.

The decision only strikes down the three elements of the law that Dayton challenged. Other provisions remain in effect, including a requirement that camera manufacturers provide maintenance records to local authorities and a prohibition on insurance companies using camera-caught violations to set motorists’ policies and rates.

Dayton began using traffic cameras in 2002, first to enforce red-light traffic violations and later to catch speeders. Accidents decreased where cameras operated. Other cities and villages across the state also used traffic cameras to catch violators.

While Dayton was the lead on the case decided Wednesday, Springfield, Akron, East Cleveland, Toledo and the Ohio Municipal League weighed in with briefs supporting Dayton’s argument. The Municipal League represents 700 cities and villages.

RELATED: Middletown, New Miami: High court ruling won’t change stance on cameras

In oral arguments held in January before the high court, Dayton said that the General Assembly specifically wrote the law to block local jurisdictions from using the cameras. Dayton had more than 36 cameras operating when the law took effect.

The state argued that municipalities could still use cameras to issue citations as long as they followed the law and local ordinances didn’t conflict with the state statute. The state said the law provides a statewide framework on the use of traffic cameras.

DAYTON BRINGING CAMERAS BACK ANYWAY

Meanwhile, Dayton city officials approved a plan to bring back cameras to catch speeding and red light violations. The city plans to use 10 fixed camera systems, six hand-held devices and two portable trailer units. Officers will be present when any of these devices are in operation and documenting traffic violations.

Opponents call traffic cameras automated speed traps used by local jurisdictions to rake money into government coffers. Proponents say the cameras push motorists to change dangerous driving habits.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in 2008 and 2014 that cities have the authority to enforce traffic laws using cameras as long as it doesn’t alter substantial traffic laws.

After the ruling was issued Wednesday, Ohio Muncipal League Director Kent Scarrett said “I don’t think this conversation is over.”

TIMELINE OF THE CASE

July 14, 2017: Dayton traffic cameras: What’s really going on?

July 12, 2017: Traffic cameras are coming back to Dayton in these locations

April 20, 2017: Dayton plans to bring back traffic cameras

March 5, 2017: Return of traffic cameras uncertain after arguments in case before Supreme Court

Jan. 10, 2017: 5 things to know about Dayton’s traffic camera case

Jan. 3, 2017: Supreme Court announces it will hear Dayton’s red light camera case

May 17, 2016: Dayton wants to restart traffic camera program

Aug. 7, 2015: Court sides with state in Dayton traffic camera case

March 4, 2015: Cities fear rise in traffic accidents as camera use ends

Apostelos’ sister, niece get probation in Ponzi scheme case

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 1:52 PM


            Rebekah Fairchild and Rebekah Riddell both received probation for their roles in William Apostelos’ Ponzi scheme that bilked hundreds of investors out of at least $32 million. FILE PHOTO
Rebekah Fairchild and Rebekah Riddell both received probation for their roles in William Apostelos’ Ponzi scheme that bilked hundreds of investors out of at least $32 million. FILE PHOTO

William Apostelos’ sister and niece — who said they were in fear of him and his wife — both received three years’ probation for their minor roles in the Ponzi scheme for which Apostelos received a 15-year sentence.

Rebekah “Reba” Fairchild, 54, and her daughter, Rebekah “Becky” Riddell, 31, had both earlier pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in Dayton’s U.S. District Court. They faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

RELATED: Apostelos sentenced to 15 years in prison

They had agreed to testify for the prosecution if Apostelos had gone to trial because his clients lost more than $32 million. Both worked for Apostelos’ various Springboro investment businesses.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose said that Fairchild — who earned $17 per hour — and Riddell — who made $8.10 per hour — did not benefit from the scheme and that it was “stupid” to conspire in any capacity when they realized there was illegal activity.

RELATED: Apostelos pleads guilty to Ponzi scheme

For her guilty plea of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, Riddell also was ordered to pay $15,072 in restitution. For her guilty plea of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Fairchild also was ordered to pay $23,840 in restitution.

“This was stupid,” Rose told Riddell. “As soon as you got a flag, you should have run for the hills.”

RELATED: Seizures in Ponzi case include race horses, cash, jewelry and artwork

Both said they were remorseful.

“I’m very sorry to the victims,” Riddell said, adding that she knows sorry doesn’t cover it. “I will never be in this position again.”

Defense attorneys’ sentencing memoranda described the mother and daughter’s difficult familial situation.

RELATED: Two plead guilty in Ponzi conspiracy

“She was berated and browbeaten by Connie Apostelos on a daily basis,” wrote Fairchild’s attorney, Michael Booher. “She continued to work there until the operation was raided in October 2014.”

Connie Apostelos — who investigators said had a $35,000 per month horse racing business and a $400 per month Victoria’s Secret bill — is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 2. She will be the last person to be sentenced in the scheme after her husband, her husband’s attorney Steven Scudder and her sister-in-law and niece.

RELATED: Centerville attorney sentenced for his role in $70 million Ponzi scheme

Riddell described how William Apostelos dodged phone calls and gave the staff things to tell irritated clients. Ridell said that despite talking to her attorney, who suggested she go to law enforcement, she did not do so: “I was scared.”

Riddell’s attorney, Adam Krumholtz, said his client was “was subservient to the whims of her uncle and aunt” and that she is “living with regret and remorse every day of her life.”

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Mark Gokavi on Twitter or Facebook

Federal prosecutors also recommended probation for both defendants.

“She stands in stark contrast to her uncle,” assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi said of Riddell, who immediately cooperated with federal agents. “She helped connect the dots for the later part of the Ponzi scheme.

“She didn’t personally profit from the scheme. She was just an employee down there.”