Hinting marriage, undercover cop elicits slaying confession
By MARK GILLISPIE
Saturday, September 1
CLEVELAND (AP) — It took an undercover officer from a small village police department in Ohio to provide the final clues used to persuade a 73-year-old man to finally say he killed his wife of 53 years.
Philip Snider pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and other charges Monday in Canton. He faces 20 years to life in a plea deal that requires him to lead authorities to where he discarded the body of his 70-year-old wife, Roberta.
Snider’s story shifted after his wife was reported missing in January. He initially told police she died in the parking lot of a hotel in Memphis. Confronted with evidence to the contrary, he said she died between Cincinnati and Columbus.
Snider was arrested in late April after divulging to the undercover officer he sought to marry numerous details about the slaying.
Former Director of Coshocton Metropolitan Housing Authority Pleads Guilty to Embezzling HUD Funds
September 4, 2018
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today joined Benjamin C. Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, in announcing that the former executive director and chief financial officer of the Coshocton Metropolitan Housing Authority has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $431,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Gregory J. Darr, 64, of Coshocton, entered the plea today in U.S. District Court.
Darr had served as the executive director and chief financial officer of the CMHA (which received money from HUD) since 2001. Despite federal regulations that prohibited it, he also started serving as the executive director of the CMHA resident council, a tenant organization that represents other public-housing residents and conducts programming. Between January 2012 and September 2017, Darr allegedly embezzled money from both the CMHA and the resident council, using funds and resources for personal costs, such as restaurant bills, real estate investments, or business ventures.
“Greg Darr violated the public trust and stole from the people he was supposed to serve,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “My office’s Economic Crimes Unit, acting on information received from the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office, launched an investigation that uncovered a pattern of theft and abuse at the Coshocton Metropolitan Housing Authority. I sincerely appreciate the hard work our local and federal partners put into pursuing the case and holding this man accountable. Together we will continue to root out public corruption.”
“Over time, Darr consolidated power and authority over both CMHA and the resident council. Abuse of these positions of public trust enabled him to embezzle and convert federal funds and to conceal his crimes from others,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said.
“The charges disclosed today prove our continuing resolve to root out fraud and corruption in all forms, particularly when the programs involved should have been used to help our neediest families,” said Special Agent in Charge Brad Geary of the HUD Office of Inspector General. “It is our continuing core mission to work with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office to protect the integrity of our housing programs and to take strong action against those who seek to personally benefit from them.”
The case was investigated by the Ohio Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit, Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office, HUD OIG, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (in Georgia), and U.S. Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
10 Ohio Cities With The Lowest Unemployment Graphic
The Ohio percent unemployed is 5.7%, down from 6.4% based on the latest Census Bureau data of cities with a population of 60,000 or more.
The team at HomeArea.com created the 10 Ohio Cities With The Lowest Unemployment Graph.
1. Parma, OH, Previously #2 at 7.4%, decreased to 6.1% unemployment
2. Columbus, OH, Previously #1 at 6.6%, decreased to 6.2% unemployment
3. Akron, OH, Previously 8.8%, decreased to 8.4% unemployment
4. Toledo, OH, Previously #5 at 9.6%, decreased to 9.2% unemployment
5. Cincinnati, OH, Previously #6 at 10.5%, decreased to 9.4% unemployment
6. Dayton, OH, Previously #4 at 9.2%, increased to 10.9% unemployment
7. Lorain, OH, Previously #7 at 11.3%, decreased to 11.2% unemployment
8. Canton, OH, Previously 12.6%, decreased to 12.0% unemployment
9. Cleveland, OH, Previously #10 at 17.5%, decreased to 13.9% unemployment
10. Youngstown, OH, Previously #9 at 15.6%, decreased to 14.2% unemployment
Long-serving Ohio prisons director, Gary Mohr, steps down
By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state’s long-serving prisons director is “disheartened” that he couldn’t reduce Ohio’s inmate population further, he said as he announced his departure from the agency last week.
Gary Mohr was director of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for almost all of Gov. John Kasich’s two terms. He oversaw more than 12,000 employees and close to 50,000 inmates.
Mohr made attempts to reduce the prison population one of his top priorities, with some success. The overall prison population was 49,534 last month, compared with 50,670 in January 2011, the month Kasich appointed Mohr.
Mohr spearheaded efforts by Kasich and lawmakers to reduce the number of first-time, nonviolent offenders behind bars. But those efforts collided with pushback from some prosecutors and judges, and with the impact of the state’s opioid crisis, which has swamped the criminal justice system in the past decade.
“I’m extraordinarily disheartened that that number’s not more,” Mohr said in an interview.
Mohr got a firsthand look at the opioid problem on Wednesday, two days before stepping down, after exposure to a mix of contraband heroin and fentanyl sickened almost 30 staff members at Ross Correctional Institution.
During his tenure, Mohr also oversaw 15 executions at the death house at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. He also launched efforts to boost the way Ohio prepares inmates for release.
Mohr weathered several negative situations, including the 2013 prison suicide of notorious Cleveland women abductor Ariel Castro; the brief 2014 escape of school shooter T.J. Lane, who killed three high school students in 2012; and the 2017 killing of an inmate in a transport van by another prisoner, three-time killer Casey Pigge.
The union that represents prison guards regularly criticized Mohr and the agency, saying not enough was being done to protect guards and reduce violence.
Mohr started with the Ohio prisons agency as a teacher’s aide in 1974. Over the years he’s worked as a warden, held several administrative posts, led the state’s youth prisons system and consulted with the private prison industry.
Among initiatives he oversaw were boosting mental health and addictions services for inmates and creating “reintegration units” that replicate work requirements in the outside world,
He talked Aug. 28 about the highs and lows of his eight years as director.
ON PRISON POPULATION REDUCTION
“I’m a big believer that drug traffickers and violent offenders ought to be in prison and we ought to keep people safe, and drug traffickers are violent offenders, in my opinion. But I think that we continue to incarcerate too many people that wake up in the morning that are addicted — these god-awful drugs — and don’t want to be, but end up consuming drugs and they are a large part of the intake in our prison system.”
ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
Mohr called each execution “the toughest day I spend as director.” Unlike his two predecessors, who came out against capital punishment in retirement, Mohr has no plans to take a similar position. “Regardless of how I feel about the executions, I respect the people that are delivering and performing the executions and I need to just give them the support they need to ensure that these events, as long as the Legislature continues to keep the law, are humane.”
ON BOOSTING OPPORTUNITIES FOR INMATE REHABILITATION
“If nothing else, instead of setting on their bunks for most of the day, to get up and to have a schedule and do something productive. If we don’t do that in prison, then how can we expect someone all of a sudden after spending two or three years or longer in prison just to go out and say, ‘OK, now we’re going to change our regimen.’ It’s ridiculous.”
In retirement, Mohr, 65, of Chillicothe, plans to consult with North Carolina’s prisons department for a couple weeks a month and spend time with his six grandchildren.
“Even though I was a warden for about 12 of my years, when it comes particularly to my two little granddaughters, 1 and 4, I’m no disciplinarian,” he said.
Editorials from around Ohio
By The Associated Press
Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Blade, Sept. 2
Greece has exited eight years of financial bailouts, a milestone for the country and the European Union.
However, the positive headlines shouldn’t for a moment overshadow issues that could come back to bite the 28-member bloc. Greece’s economy remains fragile; many of its residents remain under-employed, if not impoverished; and the country’s woes are a dark reminder of how the failure of one economy can threaten many others in an interdependent world with large trading alliances. …
Yet Greece still has a mountain of debt to repay, struggles with bureaucratic sclerosis, lags in wireless infrastructure, and must rebuild an economy that’s 25 percent smaller than it used to be. Unemployment, though lower than at the height of the crisis, stands at a staggering 20 percent.
One Greek citizen told PRI’s The World that the recovery is “only on paper and, in general, I don’t think that people really care about that right now.” That’s because many Greeks are finding that rebuilding their lives will take longer than it did their country to navigate the bailout. …
As Greece’s economy continues to improve, the conditions of its citizens should too. But for now, the world should view the end of the bailout as Greek citizens do. It’s a work in progress and many, many families have not yet turned the corner.
The Courier, Sept. 1
State lawmakers underestimated the complexity of setting the framework for Ohio’s first major step into legalizing marijuana.
House Bill 523 was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich two years ago this month, but it gave officials two years to fully implement the new industry.
Apparently, they needed longer.
Medical marijuana is required by the law to be available to patients beginning Sept. 8, a week from today, but the state will apparently not meet the deadline.
One big reason is because many of the pot plants that will be processed into the products that patients will be able to purchase are still in the ground, and not ready for harvest.
The late rollout of medical pot is unfortunate on various levels, but primarily to those who are counting on it to alleviate pain, inflammation or nausea. But it is still better for the state to get it right than to create problems that would undermine the law. …
Many communities in Ohio took a wary approach after lawmakers approved the marijuana law in 2016. Some cities moved to ban medical marijuana, but others, including Findlay, chose to issue a moratorium until guidelines were in place. The city’s moratorium expires Sept. 8, and with so many safeguards established, there would seem no real need to extend it.
Yes, Ohio’s painstaking move to a controlled and monitored medical form of marijuana will have a learning curve. Still, unreasonable delays and burdens must not be placed on those who are now eligible to use marijuana for health purposes under state law.
The Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 2
One week ago, the student loan ombudsman at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau submitted a blistering letter of resignation. Seth Frotman argued the bureau “has turned its back on young people and their financial futures,” abandoning “the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting.” Part of the bureau’s work goes to ensuring that students who borrow for their education are not cheated or otherwise abused by lenders and loan servicing firms. …
Student loans largely work through the federal government lending directly to borrowers. The Education Department hires private companies, or loan servicers, to manage the loans. In January 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Navient, the country’s leading servicer of federal and private student loans, charging that the company cheated borrowers on their repayment rights.
The Education Department subsequently announced that it would cease sharing its student loan data with the bureau. It contends the bureau has become “overreaching and unaccountable.” Actually, what the department has done is put loan servicers beyond the reach of the bureau. Without the data, the bureau cannot perform its job. …
Recall why the bureau was created in the aftermath of the Wall Street calamity that deepened the Great Recession, the record replete with stories of lenders scamming consumers. Bankers and others in the financial industry have their squads of lobbyists and political action committees. The reasonable notion is: Establish an advocate on the side of consumers.
Officials look for fix amid wave of assaults of bus drivers
CINCINNATI (AP) — Authorities in Cincinnati are looking at possible solutions to an ongoing problem of city bus drivers getting assaulted by passengers.
Cincinnati Metro bus drivers have been assaulted 14 times since 2016 with nine in 2017 and two so far in 2018, according to records from the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority. There is currently a bill in the Ohio Legislature that would increase the charge for assaulting a transit worker from a misdemeanor to a felony, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer .
State Rep. Brigid Kelly, a Cincinnati Democrat, is sponsoring the bill that would make it an automatic felony to assault a transit worker on the job. Offenders could face six months to a year in prison plus a fine of up to $5,000.
Cincinnati Metro said it is also looking at installing new Plexiglas barriers that would shield drivers from passengers.
There was a prototype bus in the city on August 2, one with a barrier already installed, but the local drivers didn’t like it, said Metro spokeswoman Brandy Jones. Drivers said they didn’t like how the barrier was not retractable and they said they thought the barries itself was too small, according to Jones.
Officials don’t have a ballpark cost estimate for the barriers yet, as it would depend on design.
Although it isn’t yet clear how much barriers would cost if they are controlled, it could be an issue because Metro faces a $184 million deficit over the next decade.
Ohio Farm Bureau marks 100 years
Sept. 4, 2018
COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) – Ohio Farm Bureau is gearing up for its 100th anniversary in a major way and the yearlong celebration will include lots of ways to join in the fun.
The centennial celebration features a member only concert by country artist Chase Bryant, barn paintings throughout the state, releases of centennial beer and wine, collector edition rifles, a commemorative book, limited edition artwork and lots of collectables including vintage T-shirts, pint glasses, hats and metal signs.
Ohio Farm Bureau was founded on Jan. 27, 1919. The centennial celebration officially kicks off at the 2018 annual meeting Dec. 6 – 7 in Columbus.
“100 years ago, Ohio farmers decided they could do more for themselves, their families and their communities by banding together. That idea is as valid, and as effective today as it was back then,” said Ohio Farm Bureau president and dairy farmer Frank Burkett III. “This is a great opportunity to remember and celebrate a century of great accomplishments by our members,” he added.
The Chase Bryant concert will be Dec. 7 at 8:30 p.m. in the Columbus Convention Center. This is a private, members only event held at the conclusion of OFBF’s annual meeting. Bryant is a Texas native and was named one of the “Best Things We Saw” at CMA Music Fest 2014‚ by Rolling Stone. The singer/songwriter/guitarist lists influences ranging from Merle Haggard to Tom Petty. Farm Bureau members can visit ofbf.org/centennial for soon to be released concert ticket information.
The concert is free, thanks to exclusive sponsor Nationwide. Nationwide was founded by Ohio Farm Bureau in 1926 as Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and remains Ohio Farm Bureau’s closest and most important partner.
The celebration includes a raffle for a Henry Big Boy 44 magnum, a Henry Golden Boy 22 long rifle and a Ruger rifle—American Farmer Edition. Raffle tickets go on sale in September and the drawing will be held at annual meeting. An additional Henry rifle will be sold at auction during the annual meeting.
North High Brewing will issue a centennial beer and The Winery at Wolf Creek will offer a limited release centennial wine. A historical marker will be dedicated on the campus of Ohio State University to commemorate Farm Bureau’s founding at the university. Details will soon be released on the location and timing of the barn paintings.
Farm Bureau members can get updates on all aspects of the yearlong activity by visiting ofbf.org/centennial.