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I-Team: Whistleblower takes on handicap parking violators

Published: Monday, February 04, 2013 @ 11:00 AM
Updated: Monday, February 04, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

Jeff Owens never intended to fight City Hall, or anyone else, over parking. But the Jamestown area resident said for people like himself, access to parking is very important.

Owens spent 22 years in the Air Force and Reserve before he was disabled by a stroke. Now he walks with a cane and needs to use his doctor-approved handicapped parking tag that hangs from the rear view mirror of his car. "I guarantee that 99 percent, maybe even 100 percent of us who are disabled, would trade all of that and not have to worry about handicapped parking," Owens said.

Owens began a campaign for better handicapped parking in the village when he noticed that several locations were improperly marked. He said improper signage contributed to poor enforcement. After weeks of getting nowhere with the village, he turned to the I-Team. "It is a right given to us by the federal government and we expect local governments to abide by it and enforce it, not just blow it off," Owens said.

A short ride around Jamestown provided confirmation of Owens' claim about improper signage. His drive for better access to parking has won the support of some fellow residents there. Natalie Heath said people who park illegally in handicapped spots are violating the rights of others. "I think they don't care and don't have no consideration for anybody else," Heath said.

Owens said violations include not only people who park illegally in handicapped spots with no tag at all, but also able-bodied people who use the temporary handicapped tag of others to get a good parking spot. He said the problem is rampant throughout the region.

Searching For Violators In Dayton

One woman sporting a temporary handicapped tag was spotted briskly walking to her car that was parked on West Third Street in Downtown Dayton in front of Sinclair Community College. As she held her arm up to shield her face from a TV camera, she readily admitted she used her parents' temporary handicapped parking tag to get a good spot. "I take care of my parents and my in-laws. I don't give you permission to put me on camera," the woman said as she drove off.

Access to parking is more than a convenience, according to Karen Puterbaugh, the Director of the Greene County Council on Aging. She said people who rightfully deserve to park in handicapped spots are less likely to venture out if they are unsure about parking and it can lead to a less active and a decline in health. "For many people I think they just stop going out. We see more isolation with elders who are disabled and there's a snowball effect on so many levels," Puterbaugh said.

State laws regulating signage of handicapped parking are very specific, according to attorney Craig Matthews, who deals with many elderly clients. He said signs should be at least five feet high and indicate the dollar amount of the fine.

After hearing form the I-Team, Jamestown Mayor Jerrod Pickens said the village has made changes to improve handicapped parking.

"I want to make things right. I want to be fair and everybody treated the same as far as disabled or not," Pickens said.

Husted bucks GOP, is against voter photo ID push

Published: Friday, April 08, 2011 @ 6:11 AM
Updated: Friday, April 08, 2011 @ 6:11 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The official who oversees Ohio's elections says he doesn't agree with a measure proposed by some fellow Republicans to require voters to show photo IDs at the polls.   

Secretary of State John Husted tells The Columbus Dispatch on Thursday that he would not change current policy that allows voters to prove their identities with photo IDs or other documents, such as utility bills or paychecks.   

A bill approved by the Ohio House would require voters to show the photo ID before casting an in-person ballot. It is now being reviewed by the Senate.   

Husted instead proposes changes for voters casting early ballots or provisional ballots. He says those voters should be required to give their full Social Security numbers instead of the currently required last four digits.

Election Board Moves Carefully On Husted Investigation

Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 5:35 AM
Updated: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 5:35 AM

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Montgomery County Board of Elections attorney will review voting residency laws before the board decides if it will move forward on an investigation of Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering.

The four-person board has asked for the legal review after member Dennis Lieberman, a Democrat, said an Oct. 18 Dayton Daily News article raised questions about Husted's residency and voter registration.

"I think we have an obligation to look into it," Lieberman said.

Republican board members Jim Nathanson and Greg Gantt, county party chairman and chairman of the board, both referred to an investigation of Husted as a "witch hunt." Nathanson said he does not think it "serves anyone" to look into Husted's residency this close to the election.

Husted, elected to the House in 2000, said, "if they haven't filed a complaint (then) they must not think there is a problem."

He is running for a Senate seat from the 6th District against Centerville School Board member John Doll, a Democrat.

The deadline to remove names from the ballot has passed, but the board can review the validity of Husted's voter registration.

A legislator must be a legal resident of his district and can be forced to forfeit the seat if he is not.

Ohio law on residency for voting purposes says a person's residence is the "place where the family of a married person resides."

Husted has been dogged by questions about his residency for several years because he stays with his wife and children in Upper Arlington and is rarely seen at his home in Kettering, 148 Sherbrooke Drive.

He is registered to vote in Montgomery County. His wife, Tina, is registered in Upper Arlington. Jon Husted voted absentee every time he cast a ballot since 2005 and voted in person every time prior to that, according to Montgomery County board of elections records.

Since their marriage in 2005, the Husteds have simultaneously owned or co-owned properties that they've called "principal residences" and received 2.5 percent property tax reductions allowed for owner-occupied homes. The law states that a couple can take the tax break on only one house. Neither Husted applied for an exception.

On Friday, Franklin County Auditor Joe Testa said Tina Husted should repay a tax break the Husteds claimed on the Columbus condominium she and Jon co-owned as a "principal residence" at the same time she got a $207.46 tax break on a different home she owned.

Husted said he and his wife have now repaid $27.22 to the auditor, who told him there are no other problems. Testa could not be reached for comment. Husted said Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith informed him "everything is fine" in this county.

However, Keith said he's only verified that the tax break was properly taken on the Kettering home since 1995 and that Husted is registered to vote there. He said it is up to Testa to review that information for possible conflicts with Tina's tax breaks. Keith said he will continue his inquiry.

As of last week, the couple was renting a home at 2672 Coventry Road in Upper Arlington. Husted would not directly say if they moved over the weekend to a house Tina owns at 2305 Haverford Road, Upper Arlington.

"We are no longer renting the Coventry and the only Columbus residence or Columbus property that we own, that my wife owns, is the property on Haverford," Husted said.

(Article courtesy of www.daytondailynews.com)

Husted Residency Still Questioned, To Appear Before Board

Published: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 @ 7:27 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 @ 7:27 AM

DAYTON, Ohio -- Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, must appear on Jan. 7 before the Montgomery County Board of Elections, which is investigating whether he lives in his district at the Kettering address where he is registered to vote, the board decided on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

A letter will be sent to Husted outlining what documents the board is requesting he provide to prove his residency, said Steve Harsman, board director. Requests for an investigation came from a Kettering Republican and a liberal nonprofit group after an Oct. 18 Dayton Daily News story raised new questions about Husted's residency.

Husted, who could not be reached for comment, says his home is at 148 Sherbrooke Ave. in Kettering. However, he said he sometimes stays with his wife, Tina, in an Upper Arlington house she owns because the demands of his job as House Speaker frequently keep him in Columbus. Jon and Tina have one son and Jon has a son from his first marriage.

Husted took an apartment in Columbus shortly after becoming 37th District representative in 2001 and bought a Columbus condominium in 2003. He became speaker and married Tina in 2005. They co-owned a Columbus condominium they sold in 2007. Husted's wife is registered to vote at the Upper Arlington home.

Husted rarely had official business scheduled on his calendar after mid-August, when the House was not in session this year, according to a daily calendar provided by his office. It also shows few trips to his district. A travel expense report Husted signed for a 2005 trip to a conference in Las Vegas listed his home address as 911 Manor Lane, Columbus, which was the first condo he owned. A 2005 traffic citation handled in Upper Arlington Mayor's court also lists that as his home address.

In January Husted will take office as a sixth district senator. Ohio law requires that legislators live in their district.

In October the Daily News reported that Jon and Tina Husted had simultaneously claimed homes in Upper Arlington and Kettering as "principal" residences and taken property tax breaks for owner-occupied homes on them. They also claimed the condo they co-owned as a principal residence, while claiming the same tax break on homes in Kettering and Upper Arlington.

Tina was ordered by Franklin County Auditor Joe Testa to repay the tax break for the condominium. Testa said he considers the matter closed. Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith said he believes Husted qualifies for the tax break in Kettering, and he said state payroll records list it as Husted's home.

"If the board of elections determines that his voter registration is invalid at that address then I will have to take another look," Keith said.

(Article courtesy of www.daytondailynews.com)

Snake in bathroom saves woman from bedroom attacker

Published: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 7:06 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 7:06 PM

Snake Saves Woman From Sexual Assault

A Florida woman is crediting a snake in her home with saving her from a sexual assault last week.

Police said the Lee County woman called deputies when she found the reptile in her bathroom, minutes before a man broke into her house, grabbed her and demanded sex, according to media reports

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Malcolm Porter, 28, allegedly sneaked up on the victim, choked her, then demanded she get condoms from another room. Once free, the woman fled from her home where deputies, who responded to the snake call, were waiting outside. 

Porter was arrested and is jailed without bond on charges of battery by strangulation.

The victim told police she knew the man and that he “may have been high" on drugs, local media reported. 

One of the victim's neighbors called the snake encounter "a blessing in disguise."

"The snake played a role in saving her," the neighbor said.

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