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Kinder Morgan

Dear Mr. Berko: I bought 1,000 shares of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners on your recommendation this April at $76 because of regular dividend increases and because I would get $5,560 in income, which is a 7.3 percent yield, and it would be tax-free. Now the stock is $97 because it's merging with three of Richard Kinder's other compan ... (full story)


Manure use restrictions sought to combat lake algae

A Northwest Ohio lawmaker is renewing a call for tighter run-off regulations through House Bill 611.
The proposed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Michael Sheehy, of Oregon, Ohio, would adjust standards for manure application.
Under the bill, no person would be permitted to apply manure when the top two inches of soil are satur ... (full story)


Mimicking the airlines, hotels get fee-happy

Mimicking the airlines, hotels get fee-happy

NEW YORK (AP) — Forget bad weather, traffic jams and kids asking, "Are we there yet?" The real headache for many travelers is a quickly-growing list of hotel surcharges, even for items they never use.
Guaranteeing two queen beds or one king bed will cost you, as will checking in early or checking out late. Don't ... (full story)


Local


Appellate court rules prior convictions allowable in domestic violence case

A domestic violence conviction handed down in the Medina County Court of Common Pleas was upheld by the 9th District Court of Appeals recently when a three-judge reviewing panel found that the lower court properly allowed evidence of the defendant’s four prior domestic violence convictions.
Appellant Daryl Inman argued tha ... (full story)


National


Suburban Dallas school station spawns careers

Suburban Dallas school station spawns careers

MESQUITE, Texas (AP) — Over its 30-year run, KEOM-FM (88.5 mHz), Mesquite's school-district-run radio station, has become as much an identifier of the community as its rodeo.
However, neither the huge radio tower off LBJ Freeway nor the regional clarity of a 61,000-watt broadcast may be as powerful as the station's educati ... (full story)


Autumn on the Connecticut River with the swallows

Autumn on the Connecticut River with the swallows

ON THE LOWER CONNECTICUT RIVER, Conn. (AP) — The first swallows appear at sunset, inky flecks in a dusky pink sky. A cloud of birds forms, then another and another. Soon the entire sky is teeming with tree swallows — hundreds of thousands of them — swooping and swirling and shimmying in a dazzling aerial ballet th ... (full story)


AP Exclusive: US changing no-fly list rules

AP Exclusive: US changing no-fly list rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is promising to change the way travelers can ask to be removed from its no-fly list of suspected terrorists banned from air travel.
The decision comes after a federal judge's ruling that there was no meaningful way to challenge the designation, a situation deemed unconstitutional. ... (full story)


Fla. Panhandle military beach is little-known gem

Fla. Panhandle military beach is little-known gem

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) — Alabama tourist Lance Du Bose has long enjoyed taking his family to a little-known spit of beach underneath a highway bridge on the Florida Panhandle, where there's sand, shade and shallow water and fewer visitors than the beaches in nearby Destin. The only drawback: occasional encounters wit ... (full story)


State


Death sentence upheld for man who bludgeoned ex-girlfriend to death

A convicted killer recently lost his appeal when the 5th District Court of Appeals rejected his allegation that his trial counsel talked him out of a plea deal that could have saved his life.
The Licking County Court of Common Pleas found Phillip Elmore guilty of aggravated murder for the June 2002 slaying of his ex-girlfriend.< ... (full story)


Judges reject appeal from man who used 92-year-old woman's credit cards in spending spree

The 12th District Court of Appeals recently affirmed several convictions for a man who stole an elderly woman’s credit cards and used them to purchase $1,600 worth of merchandise from a Fayette County Walmart.
Jason Calhoun was arrested and charged after police found him leaving a Walmart store with a 92-year-old woman&rsq ... (full story)


Delaware County court may add domestic relations division

State Reps. Margaret Ann Ruhl, R-Mount Vernon, and Andy Brenner, R-Powell, are jointly sponsoring a bill that would establish a domestic relations division of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas and create a judgeship for the new division.
The proposed legislation, House Bill 595, was introduced into the Ohio General Assem ... (full story)


Man who recorded children at Kings Island loses appeal of weapons, drugs convictions

A man reported for suspicious activity at the Kings Island amusement park was properly convicted for drugs and weapons offenses, according to a recent ruling from the 12th District Court of Appeals.
Rodney Grisham first came to the attention of Kings Island security when the parent of a young boy reported that Grisham made &ldqu ... (full story)


Recent drop in legal aids impacts attorneys' pro bono work

In the face of funding challenges, officials from the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation have said the state’s legal aids have continued to provide essential, life-changing legal help to those in need through volunteer pro bono attorneys.
Data from the Supreme Court of Ohio’s voluntary reporting of pro bono activities ... (full story)



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                            [headline] => Kinder Morgan
                            [body] => Dear Mr. Berko: I bought 1,000 shares of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners on your recommendation this April at $76 because of regular dividend increases and because I would get $5,560 in income, which is a 7.3 percent yield, and it would be tax-free. Now the stock is $97 because it's merging with three of Richard Kinder's other companies, and my new stock, Kinder Morgan, or KMI, will only pay me $4,400, which is a lot less. What am I missing here? Have I been screwed? -- ND, Joliet, Ill.
Dear ND: You certainly have and royally, too. You've been gut-jabbed, pole-axed and backstabbed by Richard Kinder who founded Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (KMP-$96). However, that gain isn't worth bupkis when you realize how cleverly Richard sliced and diced his KMP shareholders. For each share of KMP you own, Richard will give you $10.27 in cash plus 2.2 shares of Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI-$40). So when the deal closes in December, you end up with 2,200 shares of KMI and $10,270 in cash. But according to estimates released by Richard's lawyers, your tax liability from the merger ranges between $12 and $18 a share. It seems that Richard has slyly taken KMP shareholders to the cleaners.
It won't be till December, when the deal is done, that thousands of bonkered shareholders will realize they've been short-circuited, shortchanged and given the short end of the stick by this merger. Frankly, I'm surprised that swarms of lawyers haven't descended on KMP owners who've been blinded by their quick share gains and don't realize that Richard has sucked several pints of blood from their incomes. For instance:
1) You know that Richard's merger reduces the annual income on your original investment from $5,560 to $4,400 on your new KMI shares, but do you realize the initial diminution of your income is $1,160, or 22 percent? Sort of like getting an unexpected cut in your Social Security benefits.
2) You know that the $5,560 income you got from KMP was not taxable. But most KMP investors fail to realize that the $4,400 in dividends from KMI is taxable at ordinary rates! So if you're in the 25 percent bracket, you only get to keep $3,300 after taxes. That's kind of like getting another cut in your SS benefits.
3) When you bought KMP at $76, you were getting nontaxable distributions yielding 7.3 percent. So again assuming you're in the 25 percent bracket, the net, after-tax $3,300 dividend you get from KMI yields only 4.3 percent. Richard is stealing money from you, and you're paying him to do it. Still, it's not the end of the world. An after-tax yield of 4.3 percent is attractive in this market, though it's a long way from your nontaxable 7.3 percent. Because KMP unit holders have zero voting rights, Richard has lassoed, hogtied and positioned you for branding.
Richard's surviving KMI (that's acquiring KMP, El Paso Pipeline Partners and Kinder Morgan Management) is a traditional "C" corporation that will run all four businesses under one name. You can either like it or lump it, and though I don't like it, I'm not going to lump it yet. Richard believes this merger will lower his cost of doing business and provide KMI shareholders a higher return by "maximizing optionality" -- whatever that tommyrot term means. However, I acknowledge that Richard's past successes should give him credibility for the future. So the best alternative is to give him a chance to run KMI and hope he doesn't screw you again. KMI expects to pay a taxable $2 dividend in 2015. Richard tells us that this dividend should compound by 10 percent annually over the coming five years, suggesting it could be close to $3 by 2019. That dividend calculates to an 8 percent taxable return on your original investment plus potential share growth, and there's little else in the market today to match that performance. This merger doesn't benefit a single KMP unit holder who bought this stock for stable and growing income. Rather, it's more like a hard kick in the derriere with a long-toed boot.
Please address your financial questions to Malcolm Berko, P.O. Box 8303, Largo, FL 33775, or email him at mjberko@yahoo.com. To find out more about Malcolm Berko and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
[teaser] => [byline] => MALCOLM BERKO
Taking Stock [section] => Business [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 0000-00-00 [ap] => N [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-10 [created_at] => 2014-09-10 07:31:24 ) [1] => Array ( [id] => 11113 [headline] => Manure use restrictions sought to combat lake algae [body] => A Northwest Ohio lawmaker is renewing a call for tighter run-off regulations through House Bill 611.
The proposed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Michael Sheehy, of Oregon, Ohio, would adjust standards for manure application.
Under the bill, no person would be permitted to apply manure when the top two inches of soil are saturated with rain or snowmelt, when there is more than a 50 percent chance of rain or more than a half inch within 24 hours or on frozen or snow-covered soil.
An emergency application of manure to frozen or snow-covered soil would be allowed only according to procedures in Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Practice Standard Nutrient Management Code.
Sheehy, a Democrat, said the measure is designed to help reduce toxic algae bloom growths by preventing phosphorus-laden run-off from reaching the streams and rivers that flow to Ohio’s lakes.
He said phosphorus leads to an increase in the severity of the algal blooms and consequent microcystin levels that plague Ohio’s inland lakes and Lake Erie.
He noted that earlier this month, 400,000 Ohioans had no access to water due to potentially harmful levels of microcystin found in the drinking water directly resultant of the algal blooms found in the Western Lake Erie Basin.
The concentration of microcystin in the basin had surpassed World Health Organization thresholds and many residents in Lucas, Wood and Fulton counties were advised not to consume the water.
In a statement issued just before HB 611 was introduced into the Ohio General Assembly, Sheehy urged lawmakers to support any efforts to reduce run-off and “stop the growth of toxic algal blooms from creating a cycle of public health crises along the Lake Erie shoreline.”
“This particular bloom isn’t expected to fully mature until September, so we must expedite our discussions of how to manage our state’s most precious natural resources and keep our citizens out of danger,” he said.
A bill summary provided by Alexis Miller, Sheehy’s legislative aide, notes that the Ohio Phosphorus Task Force II report and the International Joint Commission that oversees the boundary waters of the United States and Canada both call for ending the practice of applying manure to frozen or snow-covered ground.
“The practice is a major cause of phosphorus pollution, which is a leading contributor to the formation of algal blooms,” the summary reads. “The Natural Resources Conservation Service, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, already prohibits the land application of manure on frozen ground for people enrolled in its programs.”
The summary also states that beginning on Dec. 1 of each year, a person that intends to apply manure to land would have to ensure the availability of sufficient storage for manure for at least 120 days in a storage facility that is designed to prevent discharges to surface and ground water.
The bill’s provisions would not apply to facilities capable of producing less than 350 tons of manure each year.
Sheehy’s statement noted that in April the lawmaker offered a similar proposal to Senate Bill 150, a bill aimed at reducing the amount of phosphorus in the streams and lakes of Ohio by creating a fertilizer application certification for farmers.
While Sheehy’s proposal failed to gain enough support to be included in the measure, SB 150, sponsored by Republican Sens. Cliff Hite and Bob Peterson, was signed into law in May. Its provisions were effective yesterday.
“Ultimately, SB 150 does not include manure in its definition of fertilizer and therefore fails to include the impact of manure on the Lake Erie watershed,” Sheehy said.
HB 611 has gained partisan support from Democratic Reps. Teresa Fedor, Michael Ashford, Mike Foley, Nickie Antonio, Dale Mallory, Robert Hagan, John Carney and Chris Redfern.
The bill is awaiting a committee assignment.
Copyright © 2014 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved
[teaser] => [byline] => TIFFANY L. PARKS
Special to the Legal News [section] => Business [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 0000-00-00 [ap] => N [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-02 [created_at] => 2014-09-02 10:10:26 ) [2] => Array ( [id] => 11064 [headline] => Mimicking the airlines, hotels get fee-happy [body] => NEW YORK (AP) — Forget bad weather, traffic jams and kids asking, "Are we there yet?" The real headache for many travelers is a quickly-growing list of hotel surcharges, even for items they never use.
Guaranteeing two queen beds or one king bed will cost you, as will checking in early or checking out late. Don't need the in-room safe? You're likely still paying. And the overpriced can of soda may be the least of your issues with the hotel minibar.
Vacationers are finding it harder to anticipate the true cost of their stay, especially because many of these charges vary from hotel to hotel, even within the same chain.
Coming out of the recession, the travel industry grew fee-happy. Car rental companies charged extra for services such as electronic toll collection devices and navigation systems. And airlines gained notoriety for adding fees for checking luggage, picking seats in advance, skipping lines at security and boarding early. Hotel surcharges predate the recession, but recently properties have been catching up to the rest of the industry.
"The airlines have done a really nice job of making hotel fees and surcharges seem reasonable," says Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University's hospitality school.
This year, hotels will take in a record $2.25 billion in revenue from such add-ons, 6 percent more than in 2013 and nearly double that of a decade ago, according to a new study released Monday by Hanson. Nearly half of the increase can be attributed to new surcharges and hotels increasing the amounts of existing fees.
Hanson says guests need to be "extra-attentive" to the fine print. Fewer and fewer services come for free.
Need to check out by noon but don't have a flight until after dinner? Hotels once stored luggage as a courtesy. Now, a growing number charge $1 or $2 per bag.
Shipping something to the hotel in advance of your trip? There could be a fee for that too. The Hyatt Regency San Antonio, which subcontracts its business center to FedEx Office, charges $10 to $25 to receive a package, depending on weight.
Some budget hotels charge $1.50 a night for in-room safes.
Convincing a front desk employee to waive a fee at check-out is getting harder. Fees are more established, better disclosed and hotel employees are now trained to politely say no.
"It's the most difficult it's ever been to get a charge removed," Hanson says.
U.S. hotels last year took in $122.2 billion in room revenue, according to travel research company STR. Fees only add an extra 2 percent in revenue, but Hanson notes the majority of that money is pure profit.
Some guests are revolting.
Royce Breckon travels frequently for his job marketing outdoor sporting equipment but refuses to spend the night at any hotel charging for Internet. Charges typically range from $10 to $25 a night.
"You can walk into just about any coffee shop and have it for free," Breckon says.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association says fees are common in the travel business and that its members disclose them at the time of booking.
Hotels first started adding surcharges in 1997, mostly at resorts with expansive pools, tennis courts and fancy gyms. The so-called resort fees paid for staff to set up beach umbrellas and lounge chairs. Three years later, hotels added energy surcharges to cover rising utility bills.
Hotels then refrained from adding any major surcharge for several years. But as airlines and car rental agencies made fees commonplace, hotels started to think up new ones, collecting record amounts in each of the past four years, according to Hanson's research.
Even the in-room minibar — a decades-old splurge — isn't safe from the new wave of add-ons.
At the Liberty Hotel in Boston a cold can of Coke from the minibar costs $5. That's just the base price. The fine print on the menu reveals an 18-percent "administrative fee" to restock the bar.
Elsewhere, the in-room offerings more conspicuous. Jimmy R. Howell was shocked by the W San Diego's efforts to sell him snacks and drinks.
"Usually these extras are kept under lock and key," Howell says. At the W, they were "strewn about" the room, above the bar, on the desk, nightstands and in the bathroom. "It seems like an effort to tempt you."
Even moving an item in the minibar can generate a fee.
The Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, like many other hotels, bills items to guests' rooms if sensors in the minibar note they have been removed for more than 60 seconds — enough time, hotels say, to read the nutritional information and make a decision.
The Aria goes one step further. It also charges a $25 a day "personal use fee" if a guest puts their own soda or bottled water in the minibar. A guest in need of a mini refrigerator can have one delivered to their room — for an extra $35 a night.
Some hotels are bucking the trend. Hyatt's upscale boutique Andaz chain offers complimentary local snacks and non-alcoholic drinks from its minibars.
Hotels are also revisiting resort fees, upping the price, especially at the high-end.
For $650 a night, guests at the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort — set on a former coconut plantation in Puerto Rico — enjoy rooms with 300-thread-count sheets and walk-in-closets. But that's not the full price. There's a $60 nightly resort charge, which provides for a welcome drink upon check-in, Internet access, the use of beach umbrellas and lounge chairs, bicycles and a daily poolside ritual iced tea service that includes fruit skewers. Guests pay whether they use the services or not.
Other hotels are adding mandatory tips.
The Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, which was recently charging $469 a night, charges a resort fee and mandatory gratuities for each person in a room. So two adults and two kids sharing a room would incur $48.28 a night in resort fees and $40.80 tips — adding 19 percent to the nightly rate.
And the fees aren't limited to resorts anymore. The Serrano hotel in downtown San Francisco adds on a $20 per night "Urban Fee" that includes Internet, local phone calls, newspapers, morning coffee and use of bicycles.
Perhaps nowhere are hotels pushing fees further than in Las Vegas. Forget resort fees. Those are taken for granted there. Resorts like The Bellagio are learning from airlines and selling enhancements.
Want to skip the notoriously long Las Vegas check-in lines? That will be $30 extra. Want to check-in early? That's another $30. Check-out late? Also $30.
And if you want two queen beds or one king bed, it will cost extra to guarantee your preference. For an extra — you guessed it — $30, the Bellagio will lock in three room preferences such as bed type, requests to be near or far away from the elevators, rooms on a high or low floor or the option to have quieter non-connecting rooms.
Then there was the fee Hank Phillippi Ryan, a mystery writer, faced while in town to sign copies of her new book "Truth Be Told" at a convention. Before heading to the airport, she went to the lobby of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino to print her boarding pass. There a kiosk offered the service — for $7.95.
"I think I actually yelped," she recalls. "I had never seen that before."
[teaser] => [byline] => SCOTT MAYEROWITZ
AP Business Writer

[section] => Business [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 2014-10-16 [ap] => Y [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-02 [created_at] => 2014-09-02 10:10:25 ) [3] => Array ( [id] => 11112 [headline] => Appellate court rules prior convictions allowable in domestic violence case [body] => A domestic violence conviction handed down in the Medina County Court of Common Pleas was upheld by the 9th District Court of Appeals recently when a three-judge reviewing panel found that the lower court properly allowed evidence of the defendant’s four prior domestic violence convictions.
Appellant Daryl Inman argued that the trial court abused its discretion in permitting the evidence because it constituted other-acts evidence.
He also argued that the state only needed to prove two convictions to uphold the third-degree level of his offense.
According to case summary, Inman and his girlfriend, who is the mother of his two children, were at a bar last spring when an altercation ensued.
Inman struck his girlfriend in the face with his hand causing her to fall and hit her head on a pool table.
The victim suffered a closed-head injury, facial contusions and a cervical strain.
She testified at trial that she and Inman had another physical altercation at their home the following day.
The Medina County Grand Jury indicted Inman on two counts of third-degree domestic violence due to the fact that he had two or more prior convictions for the same offense.
He was convicted on the first count but acquitted of the second and ultimately sentenced to 36 months in prison.
The court of appeals did not side with him after reviewing his claim that the state should not have presented evidence of all of his prior convictions.
“The trial court possesses broad discretion in determining the admission of evidence,” wrote Presiding Judge Jennifer Hensal on behalf of the court of appeals.
In its review of the trial transcripts, the appellate panel noted that Inman objected to the admissibility of any more than two convictions as such evidence would be more prejudicial than probative.
He offered to stipulate to the jury receiving information about only two of them.
The state rejected Inman’s offer and, eventually, the parties entered into a stipulation that the jury would receive evidence of all four prior convictions but not the corresponding judgment entries.
Still, Inman argued that the prosecution used the four convictions to prove his character rather than as an element of the charged offense.
The court of appeals pointed out that the jury received a limiting instruction on the matter: It was told to consider evidence of Inman’s prior convictions only to prove an element of the offenses rather than to prove his character and that he acted in conformity therewith.
The appellate panel presumed that the jury followed the instructions given to it by the trial court.
“Because the state was not required to accept Mr. Inman’s proposed stipulation, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in permitting the state to introduce evidence of his four prior convictions,” wrote Judge Hensal.
Inman went on to argue that the jury’s verdicts were inconsistent since he was found guilty on count one along with the two or more prior convictions but, on count two, the court found him not guilty of domestic violence and found that he did not have prior convictions.
Because those verdicts were inconsistent, Inman argued that his offense should not have been raised to the level of a third-degree felony.
The trial court had ruled that the evidence on each count was different and that inconsistent verdicts do not require a reversal based on insufficient evidence. The court of appeals agreed.
“The Ohio Supreme Court has held that the several counts of an indictment containing more than one count are not interdependent and an inconsistency in a verdict does not arise out of inconsistent responses to different counts but only arises out of inconsistent responses to the same count,” wrote Judge Hensal.
Because there were two distinct counts, the verdicts were not inconsistent, the court of appeals held.
Inman also argued that the trial court improperly imposed a maximum sentence but he failed to include his presentence investigation report with his appellate brief.
With an incomplete record, the appellate panel was unable to rule on the matter and presumed that the sentence was valid.
The judgment of the Medina County court was affirmed with judges Beth Whitmore and Carla Moore concurring.
The case is cited State v. Inman, 2014-Ohio-3538.
[teaser] => [byline] => ANNIE YAMSON
Special to the Legal News [section] => Local [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 0000-00-00 [ap] => N [front_page] => Y [export_date] => 2014-09-02 [created_at] => 2014-09-02 10:10:26 ) [4] => Array ( [id] => 11179 [headline] => Suburban Dallas school station spawns careers [body] => MESQUITE, Texas (AP) — Over its 30-year run, KEOM-FM (88.5 mHz), Mesquite's school-district-run radio station, has become as much an identifier of the community as its rodeo.
However, neither the huge radio tower off LBJ Freeway nor the regional clarity of a 61,000-watt broadcast may be as powerful as the station's educational force.
For the couple of dozen who complete the district's two-year program annually, KEOM is a resume-marker for those who want into the field.
The educators who provide the lifeblood of KEOM pride themselves on the talent base they've built to stock and fuel the competition in a top-five national radio market.
"It's massive, the doors it opens to colleges," station manager Peggy Brooks told The Dallas Morning News.
Hits from the 1960s, '70s and '80s aren't much of a draw for the typical high school student. But the advanced broadcast journalism program's true format might be considered a blend of dual credit, advanced placement and career technology. MISD has been providing that opportunity since Sept. 4, 1984 — long before educators adopted such terms.
By the second year, students are applying for multiple duties, including writer, researcher, programming assistant, ad sales and traffic. Experience at KEOM has gotten freshmen out of college radio station placement testing. It points them toward specific careers, such as broadcast engineering, before degree work ever starts.
"The type of jobs that are available are rapidly changing," Brooks said. "They reapply every six weeks. Part of it is to know the different positions in the broadcast industry."
West Mesquite High student Michael Holland, 17, was interested in the program because he wants to become a voice actor.
"Turns out, it's a very small market but a lot of people want in," he said. "I thought I was good at using my voice before, but that's nothing compared to now. It's much stronger. More complete. And focused."
Antonio Rodriguez, 17, of Poteet High points to improved communication skills far beyond a radio voice.
"With scripts and even blogging or Twitter, it's about being concise," he said during the students' half-hour interview. "And I would not have been ready to be interviewed like this my freshman or sophomore year."
Plus, they've experienced competition. Students from all five Mesquite ISD high schools can apply for the advanced broadcast journalism program. There are 60 to 100 applications a year and only about 28 openings. Because the student contribution weighs so heavily in the operational mix, they are eligible and needed for paid jobs to keep the station moving over the summer. Those jobs, however, often have college applicants as competition.
"It definitely boosts your confidence, reaching almost 300,000 people at a time just by speaking into the mike," said Poteet student Cameron Smith, 16. "We've heard that it's so valuable, but we really don't know the value yet until we actually get into the field."
Mesquite was the first school district in the state to operate a radio station. In 1992, KEOM magnified its signal 20-fold to solidify its space on the dial. Bandwidth in a crowded urban market and costly startup equipment and licensing have kept other districts from following suit.
Brooks credits her predecessor, James Griffin, and former Superintendent Ralph Poteet for the foresight to move KEOM forward and put the students in such an advantageous position in the market.
The station also has full-time adult employees, all on the MISD payroll. Camille Turner is a former KEOM student who has returned as one of its two full-time teachers.
Sports Director Steve Glenn and Ed Johnson have been teaming up on game broadcasts for most of KEOM's history. They can be heard not only on Friday nights, but on the sidelines for basketball and softball and the press boxes at Copeland and Tillery baseball fields. No athletic program in Texas gets better radio coverage than Mesquite ISD.
Mayor John Monaco, his council cohorts, Mesquite's police, its arts council and historians all have access. The city recognized the station as the largest and best of its kind in not only Texas, but the nation, on National High School Radio Day in the spring.
And through the writing and reading of the station's community announcements, students say they feel more connection and pride as well.
"Honestly, I didn't know Mesquite has this much to offer," Smith said. "Listening and informing other people about it makes it more genuine."
The real-world experience in the market makes for a seamless adjustment to local radio stations like KMVK-FM (107.5), KDMX-FM (102.9) and KSKY-AM (660 kHz). Brooks says all have KEOM grads within their ranks.
But not everyone stays home. Or in radio. Alanna Quillen, a 2008 Mesquite High grad, is a television news anchor in Monroe, La. Her best friend, Nicole Rosales, went through the KEOM program and is now a morning show TV reporter in Georgia.
"Early on, I had an idea what I wanted to do was go into journalism, share stories and work on broadcasts," Quillen said. "It was so important in high school to get a taste of that. Going into college and getting internships can be overwhelming. The fact that myself and some of the other students were able to get that taste early on helped us push forward in college and in getting a job."
At 24, Quillen appreciates and seeks to maintain her career's fast track.
"My contract is up next year," Quillen said. "I'm looking to come back to a bigger city. And the whole thing started at KEOM."
[teaser] => [byline] => RAY LESZCYNSKI
The Dallas Morning News [section] => National [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 2014-10-16 [ap] => Y [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-10 [created_at] => 2014-09-10 07:31:24 ) [5] => Array ( [id] => 11156 [headline] => Autumn on the Connecticut River with the swallows [body] => ON THE LOWER CONNECTICUT RIVER, Conn. (AP) — The first swallows appear at sunset, inky flecks in a dusky pink sky. A cloud of birds forms, then another and another. Soon the entire sky is teeming with tree swallows — hundreds of thousands of them — swooping and swirling and shimmying in a dazzling aerial ballet that paints the sky black.
Peering through binoculars from the river below, birders, boaters and tourists gasp.
But the swallows have only begun their nightly fall spectacular.
As if on cue, they form a long, streaky line. A momentary pause.
Suddenly they are falling, spiraling from the sky at speeds of up to 65 miles (105 kilometers) an hour in a dizzying, tornado-like funnel that, in a few breathtaking seconds, disappears into the reeds below.
For a short time the river is silent, except for the lapping of waves and cries of wonder from the boats.
Then another cloud of birds forms and repeats the performance. And another. The entire roosting ritual lasts about 20 minutes every night from late August to early October. Audubon Society experts and others estimate that it draws up to 400,000 birds.
When it is over, the river is dark except for the lights of the boats.
The reeds are dense and silent. The colony of swallows is asleep for the night.
As their vessels glide home in the moonlight, mesmerized viewers are left to ponder the mystery and magic of what they have witnessed.
"This is undoubtedly one of the most astounding natural phenomenons in the bird world that you can experience in North America," says Milan Bull, senior director of science and conservation at the Connecticut Audubon Society. "It's more remarkable than the sandhill crane migration on the Platte River (in Nebraska), the snow goose migration in the Arctic and the hawk migration in the fall."
It's also more mysterious.
No one really understands why these dynamic little birds with their metallic blue-green feathers and white bellies, descend nightly on a small island on the lower Connecticut River in preparation for their long migration south. According to the Connecticut Audubon Society, the only other known location where swallows gather in such numbers is in southeastern Louisiana, where they plummet into sugarcane fields to roost. Smaller flocks have also been seen in Cape May, New Jersey.
"The mystery is one of the reasons the tree swallow is such a charismatic bird," says Andy Griswold of the Connecticut Audubon Society, who is a seasonal swallow guide on the river. "There are lots of theories of course, but we really don't know why they choose this spot or why they form tornadoes."
Safety in numbers is one theory. The swallows, whom experts speculate come from as far as 40 miles (64 kilometers) away, are far less likely to be killed by predators such as falcons and eagles when they mass in a blizzard-like cloud. The reeds in which they roost — called phragmites — are thick and invasive and almost impossible for predators to penetrate.
Until about 14 years ago, only birders and locals knew much about the phenomenon. Then a local couple, Mark and Mindy Yuknat, teamed up with the Connecticut Audubon Society to host "swallow cruises" on their 64-foot (19-meter) catamaran, RiverQuest. The boat, which seats about 50 people, ferries visitors from the dock at Haddam — opposite the historic Goodspeed Opera House — about 45 minutes downriver.
Cruising past the opera house, a stone mansion called Gillette Castle and colonial waterside homes, the Yuknats offer lively commentary on the history of the 410-mile (660-kilometer) river, which flows into Long Island Sound. Visitors learn about blue herons wading in inlets, bald eagles soaring above, falcons and red-tailed hawks, osprey, egrets, swans and geese.
And, of course, they learn about tree swallows — how these acrobatic little creatures are among the first migratory birds to return in the spring and the last to leave in the fall. After the first cold front in October, they head south to Florida, Cuba and Central America.
Tree swallows are endlessly entertaining. They play a kind of aerial chasing game as they swoop and dive after insects for food, and feathers which they use to line their nests. They bathe on the wing, quick little belly skims over the water.
"Everything about them is amazing," says Mindy Yuknat, "including the fact that they are one of Connecticut's most stunning natural wonders."
At first RiverQuest was one of just a few of boats cruising to see the swallows. Nowadays a small flotilla gathers at sunset — kayaks and old wooden sloops, power boats and sailboats. People bring picnics and wine, cameras and binoculars. There's a festive sense of anticipation as the sun goes down.
"It's different every night," Mindy told passengers on a cruise last October, referring to the birds' route, how high or low they fly and when they descend. "But they always come".
Moments later the first swallows appeared. Soon the sky was a frenzy of black flapping wings, causing even seasoned birders to cry out in delight.
"It's like the sky is raining black pepper," exclaimed one passenger.
Another pulled out a well-worn book. As the last birds disappeared and RiverQuest chugged home under the stars, he read from the late Roger Tory Peterson, a world-renowned ornithologist, who lived nearby in Old Lyme.
"I have seen a million flamingos on the lakes of East Africa and as many seabirds on the cliffs of the Alaska Pribilofs," Peterson wrote, "but for sheer drama, the tornadoes of Tree Swallows eclipsed any other avian spectacle I have ever seen."
[teaser] => [byline] => HELEN O'NEILL
Associated Press [section] => National [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 2014-10-16 [ap] => Y [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-10 [created_at] => 2014-09-10 07:31:23 ) [6] => Array ( [id] => 11077 [headline] => AP Exclusive: US changing no-fly list rules [body] => WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is promising to change the way travelers can ask to be removed from its no-fly list of suspected terrorists banned from air travel.
The decision comes after a federal judge's ruling that there was no meaningful way to challenge the designation, a situation deemed unconstitutional. In response, the Justice Department said the U.S. will change the process during the next six months. As of late last summer, about 48,000 people were on the no-fly list.
The government's policy is never to confirm or deny that a person actually is on the no-fly list, citing national security concerns. In most instances, travelers assume they are on the list because they are instructed to go through additional screening at airports or because they are told they can't board their flights to, from or within the United States.
The no-fly list is one of the government's most controversial post-9/11 counterterrorism programs because of its lack of due process, long criticized because people cannot know why they were placed on the list and lack a way to fight the decision. Changing how people can challenge their designation could amount to one of the government's most significant adjustments to how it manages the list.
"It's long past time for the government to revamp its general procedures," said Hina Shamsi, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Shamsi is among the attorneys who represent 13 plaintiffs who sued the federal government over the current policy, saying it violates their constitutional right to due process. Earlier this summer, a federal judge in Portland, Oregon, agreed with them. The Portland case is one of five around the country challenging some aspect of the terror watch lists.
So far, the government is offering few details about upcoming changes. In a court filing earlier this month, it said it will "endeavor to increase transparency for certain individuals denied boarding who believe they are on the No Fly List."
One of the plaintiffs in the Portland lawsuit, Abe Mashal, was unable to print his boarding pass before a flight out of Chicago four years ago. A counter representative told him he was on the no-fly list and would not be allowed to board. Mashal was surrounded by about 30 law enforcement officials, he said.
Mashal appealed the same day but six months later the government responded, "no changes or corrections are warranted at this time." He appealed the decision in May 2011. Nine months later, the government said its ruling was final.
The appeals process, known as redress, was started in 2007. The government receives tens of thousands of applications a year, according to court documents.
But 99 percent of those complaints are unrelated to the terror watch lists, the current director of the Terrorist Screening Center, Christopher Piehota, said in a November 2010 declaration related to a California no-fly list lawsuit. At the time, Piehota was deputy director of operations at the center, which determines whether someone is appropriately on a terror watch list.
In 2013, 752 redress complaints were shared with the Terrorist Screening Center, according to information provided by the government in a separate federal lawsuit out of Virginia. Formal complaints led the U.S. to remove 100 people from a broad terror watch list, the no-fly list and a separate list of people who require additional screening at airports, the government said. It described the 752 complaints as just 1 percent of the total redress requests, indicating it received about 75,000 that year.
The screening center considered only 227 requests in 2009. After a near-miss terror attack on Christmas Day that year, the government revamped its watch-listing system and lowered the standard for the no-fly list. The number of people banned from air travel surged from about 3,400 at the end of 2009 to about 48,000 late last summer, intelligence officials have told The Associated Press.
After someone complains under the process, the government conducts a review. Once complete, the applicant is given a redress number to use when booking air travel reservations. Often this is done to resolve problems for people with similar names as someone on a terror watch list.
Mashal, a Marine veteran who is now a dog trainer, said being on the no-fly list has cost him business clients and stopped him from attending a wedding, funeral and graduation.
After three years of avoiding air travel, Mashal purchased a ticket last summer. He was able to print his boarding pass at home, which he said was the first sign he might no longer be on the list. In 2013, he flew in June and October without incident. But he said he never knows what to expect.
"It's always something I have to think about now, because nobody knows why I got put on the list, and nobody knows why they took me off," Mashal said. "It's always on my mind."
The Justice Department said it would reconsider Mashal's and the other Portland plaintiffs' requests after making its changes to the redress process. A judge will determine whether that is an appropriate response.
[teaser] => [byline] => EILEEN SULLIVAN
Associated Press [section] => National [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 2014-10-16 [ap] => Y [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-10 [created_at] => 2014-09-10 07:31:21 ) [7] => Array ( [id] => 11075 [headline] => Fla. Panhandle military beach is little-known gem [body] => EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) — Alabama tourist Lance Du Bose has long enjoyed taking his family to a little-known spit of beach underneath a highway bridge on the Florida Panhandle, where there's sand, shade and shallow water and fewer visitors than the beaches in nearby Destin. The only drawback: occasional encounters with military police armed with AR 15 assault rifles.
It's part of more than 20 miles of prime costal property that have been under the control of Eglin Air Force Base since before World War II. Just a small stretch of Eglin's beaches are open to the public. Military police keep a close watch on the area and have been known to run off private vendors who rent jet skis or paddle boards without permission.
"They just don't want anyone causing problems over here," Du Bose said.
Finding the balance between public and military use of the beach has become more complicated through the years, as the tourism industry has grown, Eglin officials and local leaders said.
The military recently booted a helicopter tour company that was operating off a floating platform with a ramp that connected it to the military-owned beach property.
Military officials say the bulk of their training activity takes place on more remote swaths of military-owned beach, which are rarely accessed by the public.
The miles of glistening white sand beaches provide an important training and testing site for all branches of the military — from special forces who practice amphibious landings and invasion tactics to stealth fighter jets testing advanced weapons and guidance systems, Eglin spokesman Mike Spaits said. The drills often involve foreign allies.
Spaits said the military has always worked to balance the needs of the surrounding communities with its training need.
Clint Amy, who owns Crab Island Watersports, rents jet skis and skis and other watercraft from his Okaloosa Island business. Amy said he only sees military officials when training is underway and they need to keep specific areas clear of non-military traffic.
"They just put safety observers out there — it is not the Gestapo or anything," he said.
Kelly Windes, the Okaloosa County commissioner who represents the area, said the military and the county work together to keep an eye on the beaches, especially during the busiest times of the year. An area known as Crab Island that is frequented by boaters and home to some floating bars and food vendors has been a particular concern because it sits across from the military beach and vendors sometimes unknowingly set up shop on military property, he said.
In addition to the human tourists, nesting shore birds, sea turtles and beach mice have sometimes forced changes in military planning.
Kathy Gault, a biologist who helps maintain threatened species at Eglin, said a smooth, graded helicopter landing zone installed last year proved a popular site with least terns, which built nests and laid eggs. Gault had to tell military officials they couldn't use the landing zone until the terns were done nesting.
"We have quite a few, not just birds, but all sorts of different species that live on this beach," she said.
Test range manager Glenn Barndollar said meetings between the military, local politicians and businesses can sometimes be complicated but it is worth the effort because the beach is such a good training and testing site. It allows the military to practice and test over land, in the Gulf and in the bay, he said.
"We do surface launch of missiles, we test with various seeker and sensor systems, lasers, radar systems. Not exclusively, but largely out here because of ... the costal environment, we do a lot of it over water with boats on the water or aircraft over water."
Despite the picturesque setting of the military beach, Barndollar jokes that the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines aren't there to enjoy calm turquoise waves or breathtaking sunsets.
"They are focused on the missions," he said.
[teaser] => [byline] => MELISSA NELSON-GABRIEL
Associated Press [section] => National [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 2014-10-16 [ap] => Y [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-10 [created_at] => 2014-09-10 07:31:21 ) [8] => Array ( [id] => 11140 [headline] => Death sentence upheld for man who bludgeoned ex-girlfriend to death [body] => A convicted killer recently lost his appeal when the 5th District Court of Appeals rejected his allegation that his trial counsel talked him out of a plea deal that could have saved his life.
The Licking County Court of Common Pleas found Phillip Elmore guilty of aggravated murder for the June 2002 slaying of his ex-girlfriend.
The facts of the case state that while 47-year-old Pamela Annarino was attending her son’s wedding, Elmore broke into her Newark home and waited for her.
Upon her return, Elmore killed Annarino by strangling her and striking her in the head with a pipe.
The trial court sentenced him to death for his crimes and the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and sentence.
Elmore lost several subsequent appeals and motions for postconviction relief.
Then, in August 2011, Elmore filed a motion for leave to a file a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence.
That motion was based on Elmore’s allegation that his trial attorney convinced him to reject a plea offer that would have saved his life because the attorney needed to participate in two capital jury trials to further his own career.
The trial court granted Elmore leave to file a motion for a new trial and held an evidentiary hearing in February 2013.
At that hearing, Elmore explained that J. Michael King was appointed as lead counsel on his case and Andrew Sanderson was appointed as co-counsel.
At that time, Sanderson was certified as capital trial co-counsel, but not as lead counsel under Rule 20 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence.
Under those rules, Sanderson had to participate in two capital jury trials to be granted first-chair status.
The trial court determined that Elmore did not have a strong case prior to trial, evidence was overwhelming and the victim died “a gruesome death.”
Eventually, the prosecution offered a plea deal in which Elmore could plead guilty and the state would recommend life without parole and would not pursue the death penalty.
King met with Elmore alone to discuss the offer and Elmore signed off, expressing his wish to accept the offer.
On the day that Elmore was scheduled to formally accept the offer and enter his guilty pleas, Sanderson met with him.
Shortly thereafter, Sanderson told King that Elmore no longer wished to accept the plea offer.
Based on Elmore’s refusal to enter a plea deal, King withdrew from the case and Brian Rigg took over as lead counsel.
Over the next several months, Rigg and Sanderson discussed negotiating a plea deal several times with Elmore.
However, Elmore elected to proceed to trial and even told the jury during mitigation, “I’m truly sorry for what I have done. But I feel that I deserve the worst punishment that there is. That’s one thing I agree with the prosecutor.”
In arguing that he had newly discovered evidence, Elmore provided an affidavit from Shanda Behrens, a former associate of Sanderson’s who worked with him on Elmore’s case.
Behrens testified that Sanderson expressed a keen interest in going to trial in the case so that he could complete his Rule 20 requirements and be promoted to first-chair.
She said Sanderson was clearly disappointed when Elmore agreed to a plea deal because he needed the case to go to trial and became preoccupied with his desire.
However, Behrens acknowledged that she never heard Sanderson talk Elmore out of the plea offer or advise Elmore that he should proceed to trial.
She also admitted that Elmore may have indicated “he did not have anything to lose by going to trial” because he would die in prison anyway and “if they want to kill me, I might as well have a trial.”
Sanderson also testified and denied talking Elmore out of the plea deal.
King and Rigg gave similar testimony and Rigg added that Sanderson discussed plea deals with Elmore even leading up to the eve of trial.
Ultimately, the Licking County court found there was insufficient evidence to establish an actual conflict of interest on Sanderson’s part.
“Elmore presented no testimony at the hearing on his motion to suggest that Sanderson’s advice to him somehow caused him to reject the plea offer that he apparently had accepted before. Elmore himself is completely silent on the matter, and in light of the other evidence presented at the hearing, Elmore’s silence was deafening,” the trial court stated in overruling Elmore’s motion for a new trial.
Elmore appealed the lower court’s decision to the 5th District and again argued that Sanderson’s conflict of interest deprived him of his right to assistance of counsel.
“The gravamen of Elmore’s claim is that his trial attorney Andrew Sanderson convinced Elmore to reject a plea offer that he had previously agreed to and would have saved his life, solely because Sanderson needed to participate in two capital jury trials to qualify for first-chair status under Rule 20 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence,” Presiding Judge Scott Gwin wrote for the appellate court.
The three-judge appellate panel first noted that Elmore raised numerous claims of ineffective assistance of counsel in his previous appeal.
However, it found that none of those appeals included claims that he was “pressured, cajoled, coerced or mislead” into rejecting the plea agreement.
Instead, that argument only arose after he learned Sanderson wanted to advance his career with the case.
“An asserted desire to obtain lead counsel certification in death penalty cases would, in and of itself, be insufficient to demonstrate an actual conflict of interest. Otherwise, every attorney who is second chair qualified and who desires to obtain first chair certification would be laboring under a conflict of interest in each death penalty case in which he or she participated,” Judge Gwin stated.
The judges further determined that the only evidence Elmore presented to show an actual conflict was Behrens testimony and the fact that Elmore ultimately changed his plea after meeting with Sanderson.
They held that the record did not contain any evidence that Sanderson motivated that decision.
They also noted that Elmore placed his emphasis solely on Sanderson’s representation even though he had the benefit of a second attorney at all times.
Finding that Sanderson clearly and unequivocally testified that he “did not make Phillip Elmore reject the state’s proposed resolution,” and matching testimony from both lead attorneys on the case, the judges ruled that the evidence supported the conclusion that no actual conflict existed.
“Accordingly, the Aug. 30, 2013 judgment entry of the Licking County Court of Common Pleas denying Elmore’s motion for a new trial claiming newly discovered evidence is affirmed,” Judge Gwin concluded.
Judges Sheila Farmer and Craig Baldwin concurred.
The case is cited State v. Elmore, 2014-Ohio-3674.
Copyright © 2014 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved
[teaser] => [byline] => JESSICA SHAMBAUGH
Special to the Legal News [section] => State [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 0000-00-00 [ap] => N [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-10 [created_at] => 2014-09-10 07:31:22 ) [9] => Array ( [id] => 11139 [headline] => Judges reject appeal from man who used 92-year-old woman's credit cards in spending spree
[body] => The 12th District Court of Appeals recently affirmed several convictions for a man who stole an elderly woman’s credit cards and used them to purchase $1,600 worth of merchandise from a Fayette County Walmart.
Jason Calhoun was arrested and charged after police found him leaving a Walmart store with a 92-year-old woman’s credit cards.
During a jury trial in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas, the state presented evidence that Calhoun took the credit cards and several large-scale electronics from the woman’s home after he broke in on Jan. 3, 2013.
The woman, Jane Dill, said she fell asleep around 10 p.m. that night but found the items missing and a broken kitchen window when she woke up.
One of her neighbors also discovered a broken window and damaged window screens on his home. Nothing was taken from that residence, however.
A third house in the neighborhood was also broken into and blood found in the home was later tested and proved to match Calhoun’s DNA.
A few hours after the break-ins, A Murphy USA gas station clerk sold two cartons of cigarettes to a man who used Dill’s credit card.
The man signed the credit card slip “Jason Calhoun” but then asked for it back, scratched out his signature and replaced it with an illegible scribble. The man then left the gas station with two women in a taxi.
Shortly thereafter, a Walmart cashier saw Calhoun and two women enter her store.
She said they made a “test purchase” of three sodas to make sure the credit card would work then approached the jewelry counter.
The trio ultimately returned to the cashier to purchase jewelry, cellphones and a Galaxy tablet.
The items came to a total of $1,600 and Calhoun handed the cashier Dill’s credit card.
The cashier ran the card and charged the bill to it. After the amount was debited to the account, the system prompted the cashier to check Calhoun’s I.D.
The license he provided had the name Jason Calhoun, which did not match the name on Dill’s credit card.
Calhoun explained that Dill was his mother and gave him the card to purchase Christmas presents for himself and his friends.
The cashier called for assistance and a manager took the items to be returned at the customer service desk.
She then phoned the police and saw Calhoun and the women exit the store and enter a taxi.
When Officer Jeff Heinz arrived on the scene, he stopped the taxi as it started to leave the parking lot.
Heinz questioned Calhoun and the women and found Dill’s credit cards and a few cartons of cigarettes in the car.
The state also presented evidence that the tread on Calhoun’s shoes matched the shoe prints at one of the burglarized homes and that his DNA was consistent with blood found on a rock and a jewelry box in another of the homes.
The jury found Calhoun guilty of forgery, receiving stolen property, misuse of credit cards with an elderly-victim specification, breaking and entering, burglary and theft.
The trial court sentenced him to an aggregate term of 10 years in prison for those offenses.
On direct appeal, Calhoun first argued that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a continuance filed on the first morning of trial.
He claimed he needed that extra time to summon witnesses to testify on his behalf.
“Here, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying appellant’s motion for a continuance since it was made on the morning of trial and the two cases on which appellant was being tried had been pending for approximately two months, one of appellant’s victims was 92 years old, appellant’s attorney previously represented to the trial court that there was no further reciprocal discovery needed, and appellant failed to proffer the names of the witnesses whose testimony he sought to present and explain how they would assist his defense,” Judge Robert Hendrickson wrote on behalf of the three-judge appellate panel.
Calhoun next asserted that the state failed to provide sufficient evidence that he misused credit cards at Walmart because his purchase was declined.
Upon review, however, the appellate panel determined that the cost was debited to Dill’s account before the cashier asked for Calhoun’s I.D.
Therefore, he had already committed the offense before the manager returned the items and refunded the amount to the card.
Based on that information, the judges rejected his second assignment of error.
Calhoun also challenged the evidence supporting his misuse of credit cards at the gas station because the state did not provide testimony from the cashier that would identify him as the purchaser of the cigarettes.
Again, the judges were unpersuaded by Calhoun’s argument.
They found that even though the cashier did not identify Calhoun, there was ample circumstantial evidence including his scratched out signature on the receipt and Heinz later finding the cigarettes in a cab with Calhoun.
“There were two cartons of cigarettes found in the taxi cab that matched the ones sold that night at Murphy USA gas station to the man who signed his name ‘Jason Calhoun,’ then scratched out that signature and replaced it with a scribble,” Hendrickson stated.
After overruling each of Calhoun’s assignments of error, Presiding Judge Robert Ringland and Judge Stephen Powell joined Judge Hendrickson in affirming the lower court’s judgment.
The case is cited State v. Calhoun, 2014-Ohio-3662.
Copyright © 2014 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved
[teaser] => [byline] => JESSICA SHAMBAUGH
Special to the Legal News [section] => State [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 0000-00-00 [ap] => N [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-10 [created_at] => 2014-09-10 07:31:22 ) [10] => Array ( [id] => 11109 [headline] => Delaware County court may add domestic relations division [body] => State Reps. Margaret Ann Ruhl, R-Mount Vernon, and Andy Brenner, R-Powell, are jointly sponsoring a bill that would establish a domestic relations division of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas and create a judgeship for the new division.
The proposed legislation, House Bill 595, was introduced into the Ohio General Assembly last month and calls for the new judge to be elected in 2016 and take office on Jan. 1, 2017.
A press release from Court News Ohio noted that earlier this year, Ohio Supreme Court staff issued a report following a review of Delaware County’s case docket at the request of Judges Everett Krueger, Duncan Whitney and Kenneth Spicer.
The review, which was done by the Supreme Court’s Case Management Section, examined the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas’ caseflow management and operations.
The statement said the report “supported the creation of a standalone domestic relations division with one judge to help with the court’s overall caseload efficiency.”
HB 595 states that the proposed judge and all successors would have the same qualifications, exercise the same powers and jurisdiction and receive the same compensation as the other judges of the county’s common pleas court.
The judge would be elected and designated as the judge of the court of common pleas, division of domestic relations.
The bill states that divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation and annulment cases, including any post-decree proceedings, and cases involving questions of paternity, custody, visitation, child support and the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of children, regardless of whether those matters arise in post-decree proceedings or involve children born between unmarried persons, would be assigned to the new judge.
The measure provides an exception for applicable cases that are assigned to another judge of the court of common pleas for “some special reason.”
There are currently two judges serving Delaware County’s general division and one judge serving the probate/juvenile division.
The CNO statement said the county’s common pleas court last added a judge in 1995.
HB 595 is awaiting a committee assignment.
Copyright © 2014 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved
[teaser] => [byline] => TIFFANY L. PARKS
Special to the Legal News [section] => State [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 0000-00-00 [ap] => N [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-02 [created_at] => 2014-09-02 10:10:26 ) [11] => Array ( [id] => 11111 [headline] => Man who recorded children at Kings Island loses appeal of weapons, drugs convictions [body] => A man reported for suspicious activity at the Kings Island amusement park was properly convicted for drugs and weapons offenses, according to a recent ruling from the 12th District Court of Appeals.
Rodney Grisham first came to the attention of Kings Island security when the parent of a young boy reported that Grisham made “inappropriate contact” with the child.
The man told security that while he and his family were waiting in line for a ride, Grisham was waiting ahead of them in line.
As the family moved through the queue, Grisham would reach out and try to play with the child by placing his sunglasses on the boy’s head.
The man said he eventually boarded the ride and left his 2-year-old son with the boy’s cousin at the end of the ride.
Grisham reportedly left the ride before the boy’s father and approached him and his cousin.
Witnesses told security that Grisham reached out to hold the child and told his cousin, “it’s OK, I know” the child.
When Grisham noticed the boy’s father returning on the ride, he left the scene.
The boy’s cousin told the man what had happened and he immediately reported it to security.
Both the boy’s father and his cousin were able to identify Grisham in the photos taken on the ride.
Kings Island security then issued a report with Grisham’s description and he was quickly detained and agreed to go to the security office for questioning. He was not handcuffed or restrained and he voluntarily waived his Miranda rights.
During questioning, Grisham admitted that he was a convicted felon and that he had a shotgun in his semi-truck that was parked in the Kings Island lot.
He also told the detective that his sunglasses had the capability to videotape and that he had recorded children throughout the park that day, including a young child dancing with Snoopy and a young girl playing near the Eiffel Tower attraction.
Grisham explained that he would download the videos to his laptop but would delete them unless the parents gave him permission to keep them or post them to YouTube.
The detective noted that Grisham got excited and spoke more quickly when discussing children and recalled several previous interactions with children.
She then expressed her suspicion that Grisham may have child pornography and he gave her permission to remove the shotgun from his truck and make copies of his laptop’s hard drive.
The detective eventually led Grisham to the truck and was joined by other officers, including a canine handler.
The canine alerted to the presence of drugs in the truck and two officers immediately noticed the smell of marijuana when they opened the door.
The officers found no marijuana but they did locate a loaded shotgun, two loaded pistols, a large amount of ammunition and Vicodin, for which Grisham did not have a prescription.
They located the laptop but also found several other electronic devices. Also in the truck were a stun gun, knives, lock picks, red and blue dash lights, a police hat and mace containers.
Based on those finds, the officers obtained a search warrant and seized all of the electronics.
A thorough search did not reveal any child pornography or illegal images.
Grisham was charged with having weapons under disability and possession of drugs. He filed a motion to suppress the evidence, which was denied, and ultimately pleaded no contest.
The Warren County Court of Common Pleas found him guilty on both counts and sentenced him to the maximum three years for the weapons offense, to run concurrently with a nine-month term for the Vicodin.
On direct appeal to the 12th District, Grisham argued that his statements to the detective and the objects in his truck should have been suppressed because Kings Island security did not have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
He asserted that speaking to the child and trying to hold him was not inappropriate and did not warrant his prolonged detention.
Rather, Grisham noted that not too long ago it was acceptable for grandmothers and grandfathers to distribute wisdom to neighborhood children.
He claimed the phrase “it takes a village” has now “evidentially become ‘don’t talk to my child.’”
“Despite Grisham’s framing of the issue as activity that was purely innocent, if not nostalgic, we find that the stop and investigation were proper,” Judge Robin Piper wrote for the three-judge appellate panel.
Upon review of the record, the judges found that Grisham never denied his repeated interactions with the child and also admitted to recording unsuspecting children throughout the park.
They also reviewed the recording and noted that Grisham conceded that he is entertained by children playing but is not sexually aroused by children.
Still, the judges noted that he got excited when discussing children and that his mannerisms “were disturbing and gave rise to suspicion that Grisham could possibly have been involved in crimes against children.”
“Moreover, Grisham’s statements that he was a convicted felon and that he possessed firearms in his semi-truck gave officers probable cause to believe that a crime was most certainly afoot,” Judge Piper stated.
“This evidence, when viewed through the eyes of the reasonable and prudent police officers on the scene who must react to the events as they unfold, constituted reasonably articulable facts giving rise to a suspicion of criminal activity.”
Based on those findings, the appellate panel overruled Grisham’s first assignment of error.
He next contended that the trial court erred by sentencing him to the maximum prison term for his weapons violation because it based its decision on child porn suspicions.
The district judges ruled that the trial court’s sentence was not contrary to law.
It explained its decision by reiterating that Grisham had three loaded firearms in his truck, as well as ammunition, despite being a felon.
The trial court did mention the disturbing circumstances surrounding Grisham’s detainment, but stated that its sentencing decision was not based on that information.
“The record does not indicate that the trial court increased its sentence because of those circumstances, or based the sentence on any crime except those for which Grisham had been charged and convicted,” Judge Piper wrote, affirming the lower court’s sentence.
Presiding Judge Robert Hendrickson and Judge Michael Powell concurred.
The case is cited State v. Grisham, 2014-Ohio-3558.
Copyright © 2014 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved
[teaser] => [byline] => JESSICA SHAMBAUGH
Special to the Legal News [section] => State [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 0000-00-00 [ap] => N [front_page] => N [export_date] => 2014-09-02 [created_at] => 2014-09-02 10:10:26 ) [12] => Array ( [id] => 11114 [headline] => Recent drop in legal aids impacts attorneys' pro bono work
[body] => In the face of funding challenges, officials from the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation have said the state’s legal aids have continued to provide essential, life-changing legal help to those in need through volunteer pro bono attorneys.
Data from the Supreme Court of Ohio’s voluntary reporting of pro bono activities for 2013, found that nearly 70 percent of participating individual attorneys provided pro bono legal services.
The reported figure, 69 percent, is a slight increase from the 2012 data.
Since 2009, the Supreme Court has annually requested that attorneys report pro bono legal services and charitable contributions to Ohio organizations providing legal services to persons of limited means for the preceding year.
More than 1,730 individual attorneys submitted information this year.
In 2013, 1,515 individual attorneys participated.
In a statement noting Ohio’s strong record of pro bono work, OLAF Executive Director Angela Lloyd said the reporting results for 2013 show that Ohio attorneys are continuing to “step up.”
“By donating pro bono legal help to at-need Ohioans, lawyers provide a voice to those who would otherwise not be heard, for legal problems that affect people deeply,” she said.
Most of the pro bono legal services were provided in matters involving family law, employment law, wills and probate and property law.
“Lawyers are the best chance in-need Ohioans have for finding justice,” Lloyd said.
The data indicated that attorneys who took part in pro bono reporting averaged about 30 hours of pro bono legal services in 2013. The value of the reported services topped $13 million.
The information collected through the voluntary reporting is used by the Supreme Court, bar associations and legal aids to improve legal services to Ohioans who cannot afford to hire an attorney for a non-criminal legal problem.
The report noted that reductions in OLAF funding for each of Ohio’s legal aids, related to drops in both civil filing fee surcharge revenues and IOLTA account revenues, have combined with cuts in federal funding to “sharply impact” Ohio legal aid resources.
From 2008 to 2012, Ohio’s legal aids lost almost 30 percent of their attorney workforce and three legal aid offices in Southeast Ohio closed earlier this year.
“A reduction in legal aid resources impacts pro bono legal services because legal aids have to be appropriately staffed and resourced in order to take advantage of what is offered by private practice pro bono attorneys willing to volunteer for brief advice and information clinics or accept cases for extended representation,” OLAF officials wrote.
“Before the case is seen by the volunteer pro bono attorney, the case has been through legal aid intake; screening for income eligibility; referral to the pro bono professional within the legal aid; the recruitment process; and the process of preparing the case for transmission to the volunteer. All these steps require the utilization of trained legal aid personnel.”
The report also noted that anecdotal evidence suggests that many attorneys welcome the opportunity to earn CLE credits through pro bono legal work, as authorized by the Supreme Court effective Jan. 1.
Copyright © 2014 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved
[teaser] => [byline] => TIFFANY L. PARKS
Special to the Legal News [section] => State [publication_date_aln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_pcln] => 2014-09-16 [publication_date_dln] => 2014-09-16 [purge_date] => 0000-00-00 [ap] => N [front_page] => Y [export_date] => 2014-09-02 [created_at] => 2014-09-02 10:10:26 ) ) [number_of_records] => 13 [execution] => 0.002295 ) [authenticate] => Array ( ) )
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