State Rep. Pete Beck out on own recognizance

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 @ 3:49 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 25, 2013 @ 5:30 PM

State Rep. Pete Beck has waived his right to an arraignment on Friday and essentially pleaded not guilty on 16 counts related to securities fraud.

Beck was in Hamilton County on Thursday filing his hearing waiver and getting fingerprinted and his mug shot taken. He was supposed to be in court Friday morning for his arraignment. Now his co-defendant John Fussner will be there by himself, according to court staff.

Beck is out on his own recognizance with an unsecured appearance bond, which means if he misses a court date he’ll have to pay $50,000, a court staffer said.

Beck, a Mason Republican, was indicted last Friday. The Ohio Attorney General’s office and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters’ office are co-prosecuting the case.

Beck, through his civil attorney Konrad Kircher has staunchly vowed he is innocent of all charges.

“I would caution everyone against a rush to judgment based on one side of the story,” Kircher said. “The grand jury didn’t hear Pete’s testimony, the grand jury didn’t see Pete’s evidence. At this point these are just charges, they are not convictions.”

A civil suit filed in January claims Beck and others bilked investors in Christopher Technologies out of $1.2 million. The investors also say $15,000 of their money went into the Mason lawmaker’s campaign fund.

Attorney General Mike DeWine said the investigation is ongoing and more charges will likely be filed. The 16 charges they brought involve $200,000 in lost investment monies.

“The total we’re showing is $200,000 on these charges,” DeWine said. “This is a portion of the story. There is more of the story to come.”

Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder, R-Medina, and Ohio Republican Party Chair Matt Borges called on Beck to resign from office the day he was indicted. Beck has refused, maintained he can still “capably” serve his constituents.

Report: Tillerson declines request to hold event marking Ramadan

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 5:18 AM

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to two U.S. officials, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam's holy month of Ramadan, Reuters reported.

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Since 1999, secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day's fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month.

Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department's Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr reception as part of Ramadan celebrations, Reuters reported, citing two U.S. officials who asked for anonymity.

According to an April 6 memo seen by Reuters, the office recommended that Tillerson hold an Eid al-Fitr reception. The month of fasting and prayer for Muslims begins in many countries on Saturday.

A State Department spokesperson told Reuters that the department is “still exploring possible options for observance of Eid al-Fitr."

Tillerson issued a statement on Friday to mark the start of Ramadan, which he called "a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection."

"Most importantly, it is a cherished time for family and friends to gather and give charity to those who are less fortunate," he said.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright started the tradition 18 years ago of America's top diplomat hosting a public event for Ramadan.

Afghanistan car bomb explosion kills 18

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 4:45 AM

Afghanistan
JAVED TANVEER/AFP/Getty Images

At least 18 people were killed and six others were injured Saturday in a car bomb explosion in eastern Afghanistan, CNN reported Saturday.

The attack occurred near a bus station in the city of Khost, said Najib Danish, spokesman for the interior ministry.

There has been no claim of responsibility.

Green Bay named country’s ‘drunkest city’

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 3:57 AM

Beer on tap.
Amanda Edwards/WireImage

During the 1960s, Green Bay, Wisconsin, was known as Titletown because of the success of the NFL’s Packers, winners of five league titles and the first two Super Bowls.

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Green Bay can add another title now. According to 24/7 Wall St., a Delaware-based financial news and opinion company, the city is rated as the drunkest city in America.

"The excessive drinking rate among adults in Green Bay is the highest of any metro area in the country," according to a study released Wednesday. The group analyzed self-reported data from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The data was collected across nearly 400 metro areas, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported. 

According to data collected by 24/7 Wall St., Green Bay has 138 bars and more than 26 percent of adult residents drink to excess. The national average is 18 percent, the Press Gazette reported.

Excess drinking appears to be a trend in Wisconsin, too, according to the study. Of the 20 drunkest cities listed by 24/7 Wall St., 10 are from Wisconsin — and the state owns the top four spots with Eau Claire, Appleton and Madison finishing behind Green Bay. Wisconsin also has seven of the top 10 cities, with Oshkosh (No. 6), Wausau (No. 9) and La Cross (No. 10) rounding out the list.

The study also found cities with heavy drinking tend to have better-educated, higher earning and healthier populations than cities with the lowest excessive drinking rates, the Press Gazette reported. 

The ratings appear to be skewed toward the upper Midwest, with cities from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and Montana all represented in the top 15. The first non-Midwest city in the rankings is the Fort Drum-Watertown area of New York, at No. 16.

Kettering OVI checkpoints lead to one arrest, multiple citations 

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 8:05 AM
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 11:40 PM

Sobriety checkpoints are tonight and Saturday night during Memorial Day Weekend in Kettering. The purpose is to deter and to intercept drivers operating a vehicle while intoxicated. TODD JACKSON / STAFF

UPDATE @ 3:47 a.m.

Kettering police made one OVI arrest and issued multiple citations in a moving OVI checkpoint Friday night and Saturday morning. 

Over 350 cars passed through the checkpoints that took place in the 3100 block of Woodman Drive and the 2800 block of East Dorothy Lane. 

According to a release from Kettering police, two citations were issued for seat belt violations, one for expired registration. 

Police also said the checkpoints resulted in one summons for open container of alcohol and another for possession of drugs. 

Kettering police and the Montgomery County Combined Agency OVI Task Force teamed up for the checkpoints.

INITIAL REPORT (May 26)

Police are cracking down on drinking and driving this Memorial Day Weekend.

Kettering police officers on Friday held two OVI checkpoints and will return Saturday night for sobriety checkpoints to deter and intercept those operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

The moving checkpoint is scheduled from 9 to 11 p.m. in the north lanes in front of 3018 Woodman Drive and 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. in the west lanes in front of 2841 E. Dorothy Lane. These locations are where the highest number of OVI crashes happen in the city, police said.

“We’ll be bringing them into the checkpoint and checking for signs of impairment. Anything from slurred speech to the way their eyes are operating,” Kettering police Lt. Lee Sanders said.

Kettering police want drivers to know they’re watching, and will be out in full force this weekend.

“We want to make sure we’re encouraging people not to drink and drive, make sure they make good decisions,” Sanders said.

Woodman Drive had the most OVI crashes in 2016 in the city.

“If you’re feeling the effects of alcohol you’re likely too intoxicated to be driving,” Sanders said.

Memorial Day Weekend is the busiest road travel weekends in the country.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol will nearly double its patrols.

“We want everyone to get from point A to point B safely,” Sgt. Matt Schmenk of the patrol’s Xenia Post said.

Extra patrols, and the patrol’s Click it or Ticket campaign to boost seat belt usage, are part of its effort to prevent deadly crashes.

“That’s the main mission for us,” Schmenk said.

The OVI checkpoints are funded by federal, state and local grants. Police agencies are required by state law to publicize the checkpoints ahead of time.

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