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Underground explosions rock Columbus
Other morning headlines: "Jock tax" lawsuits reach Ohio Supreme Court; January polar vortex leads to 15,000 insurance claims

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Underground explosions rock Columbus
  • "Jock tax" lawsuits reache Ohio Supreme Court
  • January polar vortex leads to 15,000 insurance claims
  • University of Akron Alpha Phi Alpha members charged with hazing
  • Chardon shooting victims' families file lawsuit
  • DNA leads to death row inmate's conviction in 1994 rape
    Underground explosions rock Columbus
    Authorities in Columbus are trying to determine the source of several explosions downtown overnight that blew off manhole covers, set off fire alarms and flooded emergency responders with calls. At least three blasts, apparently underground, occurred early this morning. Police cordoned off streets, and electric company AEP cut power to several surrounding buildings. Some traffic lights were knocked out. Smoke was seen coming from one of the manholes. The Columbus Dispatch reports the blasts appear to have been associated with equipment in a vault belonging to AEP. 

    "Jock tax"lawsuits  reach Ohio Supreme Court
    A lawsuit over Cleveland’s so-called “jock tax” is reaching the Ohio Supreme Court. The high court will hear lawsuits by former NFL players Jeff Saturday and Hunter Hillenmeyer, who argue Cleveland unconstitutionally charged them city income taxes for games they didn’t play because they were injured.  The city of Cleveland's Board of Income Tax Review and the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals previously sided with the city, saying that it would be an administrative burden to try and determine when a visiting player missed scheduled work in the city. In their appeals, Hillenmeyer and Saturday want Cleveland to change its method to factor in all of a player’s work days, including practices, team meetings and pre-season training campus. 

    January polar vortex leads to 15,000 insurance claims
    Ohio insurance officials say the early January polar vortex deep freeze will end up being one of the costliest winter storms in the state in recent decades. Preliminary figures released Thursday by the Ohio Insurance Institute show that the bills for broken and frozen water pipes, ice buildup and wind damage for the early Jan. 5-8 period will end up running as much as $124 million. The Columbus Dispatch reports that insurers have received nearly 15,000 claims so far, with about three-quarters from homeowners. Wind chills as low as 49 below hit the state during that period along with ice, heavy snow and high winds. 

    University of Akron Alpha Phi Alpha members charged with hazing
    Six fraternity members at the University of Akron have been charged with hazing a pledge by beating him with paddles. Police say a 22-year-old man told investigators he went to a hospital after being beaten over multiple nights during a pledge process in January. He says the beatings didn't stop even after he bled through his pants. Police on Thursday filed misdemeanor charges against the six Alpha Phi Alpha members. Some of the suspects denied that the man had been beaten and blamed another fraternity for spreading the allegations. The university says it’s shut down the fraternity.

    Chardon shooting victims' families file lawsuit
    The families of the three boys killed in the Chardon High School shooting two years ago sued the district on the second anniversary of the rampage.  The families of Daniel Parmertor, Demetrius Hewlin and Russell King, Jr. filed the suit Thursday. They say the school district ignored warning signs of threats posed by at-risk students, and should have had additional security. It also names shooter T.J. Lane and his school, Lake Academy Alternative School. Russell King’s father, Russell Sr., was found dead at his home Thursday morning.  The Geauga County sheriff’s office says it has no information yet on the cause of death, but foul play is not suspected and no weapon was found.

    DNA leads to death row inmate's conviction in 1994 rape
    A man on Ohio's death row for the killing of a Cleveland police officer has been found guilty in a 1994 rape. Jurors convicted Quisi (KWEE'-zee) Bryan of rape and kidnapping Thursday following a three-day trial. Bryan was indicted last summer after investigators found that his DNA matched a rape kit from a victim 20 years ago. He was sentenced to death in the 2000 killing of Cleveland police officer Wayne Leon. Bryan shot the officer in the face during a traffic stop.
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