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Flood watches and warnings across the region
Other headlines: Ohio church part of international Ponzi scheme; Steubenville grand jury reconvenes; Chris Perez in court for pot

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
  • Ohio church part of international Ponzi scheme
  • Steubenville grand jury reconvenes
  • Chris Perez in court for pot
  • Medicaid debate not over for Gov. Kasich
  • Rape counselors "gag-rule" criticized
  • Church seeks protection from conservative Christian protests
  • Flood watches and warnings across the region
    Flood watches are in effect for most of northern and central Ohio after days of rain has left some areas under water and others at risk.

    Flash flood warning today for Columbiana, Ashland, Knox, Morrow, Richland, and Crawford counties.

    Flood warnings also issued for Holmes, Wayne, and Lorain counties.

    In Bucyrus, in Crawford County, crews ran out of "Road Closed" signs because so many roads were flooded.

    Much of the town of Bellville in Richland County is under water where the Clear Fork Mohican is overflowing its banks.  Some people had to be rescued by boat, and the Red Cross was involved with helping people who were displaced.

    Weather officials said central Ohio has seen at least some rain every day for nearly two weeks.

    Ohio church part of international Ponzi scheme
    Authorities have shut down an Ohio church they claim is a front for an international Ponzi scheme. 

    The Ohio Attorney general’s office says Defining Visions Ministry in northwest Ohio’s Williams County is part of the UK- based Profitable Sunrise pyramid scheme. 

    The chain uses biblical verses and promises of high returns to lure investors who are told they will “get richer with every sunrise.”

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has frozen the assets of the parent company of Profitable Sunrise. 

    The Plain Dealer reports that the Ohio branch, NJF Global Group, was one of the biggest arms of the pyramid scheme with 70,000 members.

    Steubenville grand jury reconvenes 
    An eastern Ohio grand jury has renewed its investigation into whether other laws were broken in the rape of a 16-year-old girl.

    One of the key issues before the panel meeting Tuesday in Steubenville is whether adults who are required to report crimes knew early on of the rape last August but didn't say anything.

    The panel reconvened this week for the first time since it adjourned in late May.

    A judge in March convicted two high school football players of raping the West Virginia girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer.

    No future sessions for the grand jury have been announced.

    Chris Perez in court for pot
    The marijuana possession case against Cleveland Indians two-time All-Star closer Chris Perez and his wife could extend into the final month of the regular season.

    The two made a brief appearance in Rocky River Municipal Court on Tuesday in suburban Cleveland and the case was continued to Sept. 3.

    Perez and his wife Melanie pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor possession charges after marijuana was mailed to their home in their dog's name. Police say they were tipped off by postal inspectors to suspicious packages.

    Outside legal experts say the charge typically is handled like a traffic ticket and fine.

    Medicaid debate not over for Gov. Kasich
    The debate over whether Ohio should expand Medicaid to cover more low-income residents continues even as state lawmakers are on summer break.

    Democratic state lawmakers on Tuesday asked for what they called meaningful action on the issue, while the state's Republican governor implored Medicaid supporters to tell their legislators to back the expansion.

    Gov. John Kasich had proposed extending Medicaid coverage, but GOP leaders scrapped it from the state budget that passed in June.  Lawmakers have since been trying to find common ground on the issue.

    House Democratic Leader Tracy Heard said instead of appearing before expansion supporters, Kasich should be taking his fellow GOP to task.

    Kasich said in remarks at the rally that expansion would get done, and he wanted to be respectful of the legislative process.

    Rape counselors "gag-rule" criticized   

    Planned Parenthood is scheduled to begin airing a TV ad that criticizes Gov. Kasich for signing a state budget last month that they say restricts the work of rape counselors.

    Planned Parenthood says the restrictions are "egregious" because they limit women's access to health care during a very vulnerable time.

    The state's spending bill that Kasich signed June 30 includes several anti-abortion measures.

    One prohibits rape counselors receiving taxpayer dollars from recommending abortion facilities to women impregnated by their attackers. Another one limits government funding for Planned Parenthood clinics and public hospitals that provide abortions.

    Church seeks protection from conservative Christian protests

    A Columbus judge has left a temporary restraining order in place barring protests by a conservative Christian group in front of one of Ohio's largest churches.

    Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Charles Schneider agreed Tuesday to continue final arguments in the dispute until later this summer.

    Until then, members of Minutemen United must protest only across the street from the 8,500-member Vineyard Columbus church.

    Minutemen leader Jim Harrison said demonstrators want greater church activism in "the culture war" on abortion and homosexuality. He said their concern is with "the church corporate," not just the Vineyard.

    Vineyard pastor Rich Nathan grew tired of the graphic displays and sought court intervention last week. He says the Vineyard opposes abortion and homosexuality but also has a mission to be "broad and inclusive."

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