Cincinnati lawmaker moves to retire for pension, but will run again

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 1:55 PM


            Ohio Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati
Ohio Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati

Ohio Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, has filed a letter declaring his intention to retire before the end of his current term with the Ohio House of Representatives.

But the 63-year-old Westside Cincinnati state lawmaker has no intention of retiring from the Statehouse. In fact, he is seeking re-election this November for another term in the Ohio House.

He said the move allowed by Ohio law would let him collect his pension and the letter is a “statutory requirement” if he wants to do so.

RELATED: Area lawmaker ‘livid’ over alleged comments at roast

“What I’m actually doing is retiring from OPERS (Ohio Public Employees Retirement System),” he said, adding that he’s been advised he does not have to retire “a single minute” to collect his pension.

According to OPERS, an elected official who is re-employed in the same office either for the remainder of an unexpired term or, in Seitz’ case, would serve a new full term if elected following a retirement is subject to pension suspension and forfeiture. Unless, that is, that elected official notified via the county board of elections an intent to retire 90 days prior to a primary election.

That’s what Seitz did.

Before his time in Columbus, Seitz served a term on the Cincinnati Board of Education and two terms as a Green Twp. Trustee. Seitz has served in the Statehouse since 2000, first as an Ohio House member from 2000 to October 2007, then as a State Senator from October 2007 until 2016. He returned to the Ohio House in 2017. Seitz is the House’s Majority Floor Leader.

This action is also “utterly irrelevant” in relation to the fallout from a roast at the Athletic Club of Columbus last month during which Seitz reportedly made sexist and derogatory comments. He formally apologized to Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, and former state lawmaker Diane Fessler following criticism related to the roast comments.

“I take full responsibility for my words in their entirety,” Seitz write to Ohio Speaker Cliff Rosenberger in a Jan. 25 letter.

That apology came days after a report that Seitz and others roasted exiting Ohio House Republicans Chief of Staff Mike Dittoe. An online Ohio political blog wrote that the roast was filled with sexist, off-color and demeaning comments, one of which targeted Keller and was reportedly made by Seitz.

READ THE DOCUMENT: The apology, in Seitz’s words

“I offer my sincerest apologies for any distress or embarrassment I may have caused,” he wrote in his letter to Rosenberger. “My words were irresponsible as a member of this esteemed institution and as a member of House leadership.”

Ohio House Republican Caucus spokesman Brad Miller said Seitz consulted the House legal counsel before submitting the letter “to make sure he was fully compliant.”

“He is not doing that,” Miller said of a possible permanent Seitz retirement. “He has filed his petitions, and if he wins in November he will be a member of the Ohio House again next year.”

Miller said this action is “less common in the era of term limits” and referenced the code that permits this as an “old Ohio law.”

“Anyone who would want to take this action would be required to submit a similar letter,” Miller said.

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Parent’s cellphone video appears to show school bus driver texting and driving

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 8:12 AM

A parent said he saw a Georgia bus driver texting while driving. (Photo by WSBTV.com)
WSBTV.com
A parent said he saw a Georgia bus driver texting while driving. (Photo by WSBTV.com)(WSBTV.com)

A parent who didn’t want to be identified sent WSB video that appears to show a DeKalb County school bus driver looking down at her phone while on the road.

The parent said he saw the driver texting while driving on I-20 in Georgia and started filming. He said he believes the driver’s actions were dangerous and irresponsible.

>> Read more trending news 

The video shows what appears to be a cell phone in the bus driver's hand while she steers the wheel with her right hand. A student is seated on the bus.

Katrecia Lo, another parent, told WSB she’s also seen a DeKalb County bus driver on the phone while behind the wheel.

“To know they’re picking up phones and texting while our kids are in their care is gut-wrenching,” Lo said. 

“The DeKalb County School District is currently investigating what appears to be a bus driver using a phone while driving,” a statement from the district said. “This behavior is completely unacceptable. Not only is it illegal, it is not safe for other drivers, and it is a danger to the district’s staff and students. The safety of our students and staff is paramount to the DeKalb County School District.” 

There is no word that the district has taken any disciplinary action against the driver. The parent who recorded the video hopes quick action is taken so something like this never happens again. 

“No child should be in danger,” he said. “No child. That”s my first thought: the children.”

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Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein turns self in to face rape, other charges

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 8:30 AM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 8:30 AM

VIDEO: Weinstein Turns Himself In

Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein turned himself in to authorities on Friday to face charges related to sexual abuse allegations in New York.

>> Read more trending news

Update 5/25 8:35 a.m.: Police confirmed in a statement released Friday morning that Weinstein has been charged with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct in cases involving two women.

Update 5/25 7:28 a.m.: Weinstein has turned himself in to police to face charges in a sexual misconduct investigation. He will be charged with first- and third-degree rape in one case and first-degree sex act in a second, CNN reported.

 

Reporters waited as Weinstein arrived at the police department just before 7:30 a.m. After booking, he will then be transferred to Manhattan Criminal Court to face his charges, NBC News reported.

The charges, according to sources close to the investigation, come from the allegations made by two women, NBC News reported. The women have not been identified, however, many big-name stars have accused Weinstein of various acts. Some of the women who have come out against the mogul include: Rose McGowan, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, Lupita Nyong’o and Ashley Judd, NBC News reported. Their speaking out sparked the #MeToo movement.

Update 5/25, 6:39 a.m.: Weinstein is expected to arrive at the NYPD’s 1st Precinct station Friday morning, WNBC reported. It could be as early as 7 a.m., according to Deadline

Police will fingerprint Weinstein, have mug shots taken and be given an arrest ID. Then he will be taken to his court appearance on felony complaint based on allegations of to women, WNBC reported. It is expected he will leave court on $1 million bail and will be issued an ankle monitor, sources told WNBCDeadline reported that Weinstein will also have to forfeit his passport.

Update 5/24, 8:47 p.m.:  Weinstein is expected to face first-degree rape and third-degree rape charges in one case, and a first-degree criminal sex act charge in another case, law enforcement officials told The New York Times.

The Times is reporting that the sex act charge is related to an incident with Lucia Evans, who told the New Yorker and investigators that Weinstein assaulted her during a casting meeting.

It’s unclear which of Weinstein’s many victims over two decades may be at the center of the rape case.

 

Original story: Two unidentified law enforcement officials told The New York Times on Thursday that Weinstein is expected to surrender to authorities Friday morning.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is expected to bring charges against Weinstein one day after a grand jury convened to hear evidence in connection to allegations of sexual abuse that have been levied against the well-known producer, according to WNBC

 

Dozens of women came forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment and misconduct after the Times published a report last year detailing complaints of sexual harassment made against Weinstein over nearly three decades. Weinstein, who co-founded entertainment company Miramax, was ousted from his position at The Weinstein Company in the wake of the Times report. 

New York police opened an investigation into Weinstein in 2015, after Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez told officers that she was groped by Weinstein without consent.

Authorities outfitted Gutierrez with a wire and had her meet with the producer. In an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The New Yorker, Weinstein could be heard apologizing after he’s confronted about the alleged assault.

>> Harvey Weinstein recording was not enough to charge him, DA says

Despite the recording, no charges were filed against Weinstein.

Prosecutors said that they were never consulted about the New York Police Department’s plan to get Weinstein to admit to the assault on tape and that the tape was not enough evidence to convict the 65-year-old. Police defended their actions, saying that the recording was one of multiple bits of evidence collected by officers and presented to the Manhattan District Attorney for prosecution.

>> Harvey Weinstein investigations launched in New York, London

New York City police said last year that they were working to learn of any additional complaints against Weinstein.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

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Teen charged in crash that killed 3, including a baby: ‘I never saw anyone coming’

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 5:55 PM

Teen Charged After Crash That Killed 3, Including 3-Month-Old Baby

A metro Atlanta teenager who is charged in a crash that killed three people, including a 3-month-old baby, said she was looking at the road at the time of the deadly incident.

>> Read more trending news 

"I never saw anyone coming,” Zoe Reardon, 18, told WSB-TV. “My eyes were on the road,” she said.

Reardon faces eight misdemeanor charges that include vehicular homicide and the use of an electronic communication device under the age of 18 in connection with the Sept. 9 crash in Woodstock, Georgia.

Reardon's attorney, Manny Arora, told WSB his client texted her dad about dinner two minutes before the deadly accident. At the time, she was stopped in traffic elsewhere, he said.

However, investigators say Reardon "failed to exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle ... and engaged in the action of putting away her cellular telephone which distracted her," a point the teen disputes. 

“I wasn't doing anything,” she said.

>> Related: Teen charged in crash that killed hurricane evacuee, baby

Kaitlin Marie Hunt, 28, her baby Riley and family friend Kathy Deming, 61, of Marietta, were hit by Reardon’s SUV about 8 p.m. while trying to cross Arnold Mill Road, according to the sheriff’s office.

Riley died that night.

Days later, Hunt and Deming died.

Hunt, a Marietta native who was with the Coast Guard in Florida, had come to metro Atlanta to escape Hurricane Irma.

I see my family’s hurt, my parents' hurt,” Reardon said. “I can only imagine their families’ hurt must be four times what we’re going through.” 

Arora said investigators earlier told her family they saw no basis for charges. 

"No crosswalk and these people happen to be crossing, and she happened to be driving, and it's just tragic," Arora said.

Cherokee County Solicitor General Jessica Moss said she never told anyone there would be no charges.

>> Related: Florida mother who fled to metro Atlanta dies days after baby

Zoe Reardon told WSB that she is a straight-A student who has a partial scholarship to Southern Methodist University in Texas. But she now has the charges from the crash to deal with, and thinks of family members of the crash victims.

"I pray for the hearts,” she said, “and I pray for their healing."

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Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast: Joey Picca talks the Storm Prediction Center 

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 7:55 AM

This week on Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast, Joey Picca sits down with Kirstie and McCall to talk about his role at the Storm Prediction Center.

LISTEN: Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast: A podcast for weather fans 

The SPC is part of the National Weather Service and is one of nine Centers for Environmental Prediction across the country. The SPC, especially in the spring and summer, is busy producing products that help give timely and accurate outlooks and watches for severe weather. 

Joey Picca is now an outlook/mesoscale forecaster at the SPC which is in Norman, Oklahoma. As a forecaster at the SPC, his primary duties include: issuing outlook and near-term forecasts for severe, fire, and winter weather across the contiguous United States. Picca first worked was a meteorologist at NWS New York, NY, where he supported operations for numerous high-impact events such as Hurricane Sandy and the Northeast Blizzard of February 2013. 

LISTEN: Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast: WHIO TV Anchor Gabrielle Enright

Every day Picca has to tell the weather story of the entire country, first starting broad and zooming closer and closer until he is pin-pointing where severe weather could occur. The Convective Outlooks he produces are important in the Miami Valley and are just one tool the Storm Center 7 team uses when developing local forecasts each day. 

Picca gives an in-depth and honest look at the interesting job he has in the field of meteorology as well as some of the stressors he must overcome. 

“The atmosphere really knows how to slap you over the head and say, 'Oh, I've got many tricks up my sleeve,'" explained Picca.

 You can subscribe anytime to Cloudy with a Chance of Podcast so you won’t miss an episode. You can listen download episodes from Apple iTunes, Google Play, Sticher and right here on https://www.whio.com/whio-radio/on-demand/

Don’t forget to rate and review this podcast! 

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