New body scanner in Greene County Jail turning up contraband

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 2:24 PM

body scanners

A full-body scanner at the Greene County Jail has already proved itself since it went into operation in late September, said Maj. Kirk Keller, the jail administrator. 

“The amount of drugs that people were attempting to bring in has been effectively reduced,” he said “It has identified drugs — drugs either in or on their body. So it’s been a great asset for us trying to keep the inmates safe.”

RELATED: Counties struggle to keep drugs out of their jails

Keller said more than a dozen scans have identified contraband on people, including needles and drugs both swallowed and inserted in rectums, but fewer people are attempting to smuggle because of the machine. 

“The numbers of positive scans that we’re currently getting are declining because they became aware we had this system,” he said. “Many of them have ceased trying to bring drugs in.” 

RELATED: Greene Co. Jail buys scanner to combat drug smuggling 

Pat-downs were the most thorough search a county officer could conduct before the scanners were approved, Keller said. Ohio law prohibits pre-sentencing facilities like the county jails from performing strip searches without probable cause. 

“The scanner permits a non-intrusive measure to allow us to see if there is something in or on a person that a pat-down might miss,” he said.

Montgomery County installed a new machine that will go into service as soon as it is certified by the Ohio Department of Health.

RELATED: Body scanner to take aim at dope entering Montgomery County Jail

The cost of the systems has dropped in half over the last couple of years — now about $120,000 — making them more affordable for counties. Butler and Miami counties also added jail scanners during the past year. Warren County is holding off on a scanner until construction of a new $50 million jail planned for 2020.

MORE: New Butler County Jail body scanner deters weapon, drug smuggling 

MORE: Miami County step closer to using body scanner at jail 

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Should Medicaid come with work requirements? Ohio says yes

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 3:08 PM


Ohio for the first time is seeking federal approval to create job requirements as a condition to qualify for Medicaid.

Most Ohio residents enrolled through the expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor, are already working or would be exempt because of things like their age, disability or care taking responsibilities.

But an estimated 36,000 residents — 5 percent of the 700,000 Ohioans on Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act — would risk losing their health insurance if they don’t either have a job for at least 20 hours per week, look for work, or attend school or job training.

The Ohio Department of Medicaid will hold public hearings beginning in Cincinnati starting Wednesday. Public comment can also be submitted online until March 18.

The requests to add work requirements have sparked debate over whether the conditions are necessary to push people toward jobs and out of poverty, or whether the new rules will put unnecessary burdens on the poor and make health outcomes worse.

RELATED: Kasich vs. lawmakers in Medicaid fight: ‘If you break it, you own it’

President Donald Trump’s administration recently opened the door to let states add job requirements as part of Medicaid eligibility, which was something states have previously not been allowed to do. Ohio joins a dozen states that want to add job requirements as a condition of eligibility and Kentucky and Indiana have already been approved.

The Republican-majority Ohio General Assembly put the language into the budget last summer that required the Ohio Department of Medicaid to seek permission to add the job requirements for those covered through Medicaid expansion.

“We’re talking about healthy Ohioans of working age,” said John Fortney, spokesman for the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus. “It’s reasonable to think that if you’re able to work, then you should be working. This gets people into the workforce, giving them the opportunity to build a career in the long term, ending the cycle of dependency on government.”

Two state representatives, Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, and Emilia Strong Sykes, D-Akron, issued a statement condemning the proposed restrictions as further attempts to undercut Medicaid benefits expanded under the Affordable Care Act. The two argued the proposal won’t cut poverty and instead could leave residents with poorly paid and temporary jobs.

“Taking away healthcare from people in need of temporary assistance will actually keep people sicker and unable to find work. This will increase healthcare costs across the board,” Antonio stated. “Further, this will be detrimental to Ohioans who want to work and need healthcare.”

The Ohio Department of Medicaid in its proposal cited a study pointing to how Medicaid coverage helped beneficiaries hold jobs or find jobs, but at the same time the employment rate has only increased by 2 percent for those covered through Medicaid expansion.

RELATED: 500K Ohioans could lose health care with freeze in Medicaid signups, Kasich says

“These findings emphasize that more can be done to promote and encourage work and community engagement efforts that help improve health outcomes and further promote the goals of the Medicaid program,” the state wrote.

The Ohio Department of Medicaid in its application to add the requirements compared to the state’s work requirements for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. The department estimated it would save about $30 million the first year the requirements are in place.

Some of the exemptions include being 50 years or older, “physically or mentally unfit for employment,” pregnant, caring for children or a disabled household member, in school at least half-time, participating in drug or alcohol treatment.

Loren Anthes, who researches Medicaid policy at The Center for Community Solutions in Cleveland, said the state’s estimate of 1 in 20 residents losing their Medicaid eligibility because of the new conditions might be a conservative prediction.

RELATED: Kasich says it’s a ‘bad idea’ to phase out Medicaid expansion

Looking to when work requirements were introduced for SNAP, Anthes said nearly 400,000 people lost eligibility compared to the initial 134,900 that the state estimated would lose their benefits. Even accounting for an improving economy, Anthes said the work requirements appear to have disqualified more people than the state predicted.

He also said that the additional administration work that it would take to monitor these new requirements will cost money that could otherwise have been spent on health benefits.

“This waiver elects to pay for red tape over health care services,” Anthes said.

By the numbers: Medicaid

700,000: Ohioans covered by Medicaid under ACA expansion

36,000: Estimated Ohioans affected by proposed work rules

$30 million: Savings Ohio predicts for first year of work rules

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Montgomery Co. fire stations on alert after shooting threat

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 3:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 4:10 PM

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a threatening call made anonymously that a man would “shoot up” local fire stations. 

The call came in just before 3 p.m. Sunday to the non-emergency line at the county’s Regional Dispatch Center in Dayton, according to a sheriff’s report. 

“This day in age there’s no threat like that, that you can’t take seriously,” said Rob Streck, chief deputy with the sheriff’s office. 

Huber Heights business damaged by nearby ‘target practice,’ police say

The 20-second threatening phone call by a male said he was going to “shoot up the fire department … wait till I get my gun. Now I warned all y’all (sic),” reads the sheriff’s report. He then hung up. 

“It’s concerning,” Streck said. “Fire and EMS, they’re service providers that do everything they can to keep us safe, keep our families safe.” 

After the emergency dispatcher alerted the on-duty supervisor, that sergeant alerted the sheriff’s office, according to Streck. Then all police and fire departments in Montgomery County were notified of the threat. 

All departments were notified, Streck said, because the threat did not list a specific fire department. 

“Some fire departments had law enforcement on with them on calls, some of the fire departments locked down,” Streck said. 

REWARD: Offered for information in woman shot in head

Other fire stations ensured all access doors and garage bays were closed and locked. 

Miami Valley Fire District Battalion Chief Andy Harp told News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy that his fire stations have been advised to stay alert and keep their garage bay doors closed.

The investigation is ongoing to identify who made the threat. 

Streck said law enforcement do sometimes receive similar threats, but it’s easier for officers and deputies in the field to have an immediate ability to protect themselves. 

“The fire service is a little different; they don’t go around with firearms and less lethal options on their belt, than law enforcement does,” Streck said. “To hear that some of our local brethren in arms is being threatened with really no defense, it really concerned us and we want to make sure that those that are out protecting our families, that we protect them.”

For the latest on this threat and response of fire departments, watch WHIO-TV starting at 5 p.m. today, Feb. 20.

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911 dispatcher dies in crash; husband hears emergency call on scanner 

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 1:39 PM

Husband Hears Emergency Call on Scanner After Wife Dies in Accident

A Minnesota man listening to emergency dispatch audio learned that his wife, a 911 dispatcher, was killed in a crash with a wrong-way driver as she headed for work, the Star Tribune reported.

>> Read more trending news

Jenna L. Bixby, 30, died Saturday night in the head-on crash in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park, authorities said. Her husband, Daniel Bixby, was listening to the audio that first reported the crash, according to Andrew Williams, who heads two Twin Cities scanner monitoring groups online, the Star Tribune reported.

The crash was reported at 8 p.m. Two hours later, State Patrol troopers contacted Daniel Bixby and confirmed that his wife had died.

“A few of us were listening at the same time last night and messaging back and forth,” Williams told the Star Tribune. “Maybe two hours later, Dan sent a message on the board that troopers came and told him it was his wife. Yeah, it’s tough.”

The wrong-way driver was identified as retired minister Richard J. Shaka, 72, of Blaine. He was in critical condition, authorities said. Troopers said alcohol consumption by Shaka appears to have been a factor in the collision.

Jenna Bixby worked the past 3½ years as a 911 dispatcher for the city of Minneapolis, according to city records.

“Minneapolis’ Emergency Communications staff work day and night to keep people safe,” Mayor Jacob Frey said Sunday. “As a 911 dispatcher, that’s what Jenna Bixby did for years -- and what she was on her way to do at City Hall when her life was tragically taken late last night.”

Shaka taught at North Central University in Minneapolis in the Bible and Theology Department from 1996 until he retired in 2011. Shaka also founded a Twin Cities nonprofit organization that builds orphanages and youth centers in his native Sierra Leone, the Star Tribune reported.

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Rain returning, flooding threat increasing

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 3:36 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 12:40 PM

Tree down on East Dorothy Lane

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar


  • Rain, few storms late tonight
  • Chance for freezing rain early Thursday
  • More rain, heavy at times Friday into the weekend

(Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini)

>> 5-Day Forecast


This evening: Clouds will be on the increase with gusty winds. Temperatures will stay in the 70s. 

Tonight: Rain will develop, mainly after midnight. A few thunderstorms will be possible. Temperatures will drop into the upper 50s by morning. It will remain breezy.

Record breaking warmth will fuel strong storms tonight.

Wednesday: Rain likely. A rumble of thunder possible early, mainly south. Temperatures will fall through the 50s into the 40s by evening. As temperatures drop, rain may change to freezing rain late at night across the northern Miami Valley.

(Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini)

(Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini)

Thursday: Rain will be around in the morning and may begin as freezing rain, mainly north of I-70. Temperatures will start the day in the lower 30s and climb into the middle 40s. The afternoon should dry out.

>> School, Business Closing and Delays

Friday: Rain returns. The rain may be heavy at times. It will be milder with highs in the upper 50s. Heavy rain may lead to flooding issues.

(Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini)

>> The Ohio River is rising, prompting flood warnings for some areas

Saturday: Rain likely. The rain may be heavy at times. A rumble of thunder will also be possible, mainly south. Heavy rain may lead to flooding issues. It will also become windy at times with highs near 60 degrees.

Sunday: There will likely be rain in the morning with clouds lingering into the afternoon. It will be windy with highs cooling into the middle 50s.

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