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Lower taxes proposed on 2-year Senate GOP budget

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio would lower income taxes for individuals and direct more money toward water quality initiatives, local governments and libraries under a two-two year state budget proposal introduced Tuesday in the Republican-controlled state Senate.

It eliminates the bottom two tax brackets and decreases personal income tax rates for the others by 8% over two years. The income tax cut in the $69 billion proposal approved by the GOP-led House was 6.6%.

That and other proposed tax changes affecting businesses would reduce taxes by more than S600 million, said Republican Sen. Matt Dolan, who leads the Senate committee considering the plan.

"One of the more important strategic investments for us is to make sure that our partners — our constituents, and the citizens of Ohio — enjoy in Ohio's success," Dolan said. "And so it's really important to us that returning tax dollars to Ohioans is the signature statement by the Senate."

The Senate plan includes $550 million that Republican Gov. Mike DeWine sought to boost educational wraparound services, plus $125 million more toward education-related spending, such as private-school scholarships and more money for growing school districts whose funding has been capped.

And unlike the House version, the Senate proposal would maintain tax credits for the motion picture industry.

The top Democrat in the Senate, Sen. Kenny Yuko, of Richmond Heights, said he was "encouraged by the potential reinvestment" in the bill.

"The devil is in the details, but we are hopeful for progress aimed at improving the quality of life of all Ohioans," Yuko said in a statement.

Ohio tax revenue has exceeded projections this fiscal year. Senate President Larry Obhof said lawmakers factored that cushion into their considerations.

They face a June 30 deadline to get a budget signed DeWine.

In addition to the tax changes, the Senate Republicans' budget proposals would:

• Provide $172 million for DeWine's proposed "H20hio" water quality initiative over two years, or double what the House supported.

• Maintain a business income tax deduction for the first $250,000 in income, rather than shrinking that to the first $100,000 as the House plan did.

• Slightly increase the percentages of state revenue that go to funds for public libraries and for local governments.

• Create a program to help fund the care of children being looked after by relatives.

• Appropriate an extra $100 million for rehabilitating and building schools.

• Expand payment rate increases for certain assisted living and senior care programs.

Man arrested after police find marijuana

HUNTINGTON — A Michigan man was arrested over the weekend after police allegedly found about 40 grams of marijuana in a vehicle after a police chase.

Ralph Edward Hill, 25, of Detroit, was jailed at 10:10 p.m. Saturday. Authorities in Cabell County charged him with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, fleeing from an officer in a vehicle, fleeing from an officer and possession of a controlled substance. Bond was $47,000.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Cabell County Magistrate Court by Huntington Police officer Matt Keesee, police attempted to make a traffic stop June 8 on a white Hyundai Sonata near Virginia Avenue and 4th Street when the vehicle accelerated south onto West 8th Street and then west onto Adams Avenue.

Eventually the vehicle stopped in the 200 block of 6 1/2 alley, where the driver and passenger allegedly fled from the vehicle on foot.

Another Huntington Police Department officer apprehended Hill in the 200 block of 7th Avenue.

Officers allegedly found at least two bags of a green "leafy" substance in the vehicle, totaling about 40 grams.

Past WKU student who shot classmate released

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — A former Western Kentucky University student who drunkenly shot his friend and was sentenced to four years in prison for reckless homicide is being released after only 125 days.

The Bowling Green Daily News reported Monday a Kentucky judge granted 22-year-old Peter Gall a kind of early release meant for first-time offenders convicted of low-level felonies.

Gall said he didn't mean to kill his friend and fellow WKU student, Alex Davis, in September 2017. He testified that in his drunken state, he "decided just to try and scare" him. He said he "began to jab and mess with him. That's when the gun went off."

South Point gets $640,000 grant for sidewalk project

SOUTH POINT, Ohio — Some residents of South Point, Ohio, said they are excited to hear about a new sidewalk project near South Point Elementary School and along Solida Road.

"This is great news and it is really needed," said Brittany Coffee, who lives in South Point and has a son attending the elementary school. "If you're walking or riding a bike in this area, it can be dangerous, in my opinion."

Coffee said sidewalks not only make the community more walkable, but also safer for children.

"It is not uncommon to see kids walking on the road around this area because there are only sidewalks at the school," she said. "Plus sidewalks make more people want to get out and walk, which promotes a healthier lifestyle."

Jay Paul, another resident, said he has seen people almost get hit by passing motorists while walking on Park Avenue and on 9th Street.

"They are walking on the side of the road in the evening, and it looked like they didn't hear the car coming and the driver appeared not to see them either," he said. "The car had to get over in the other lane, which could have been bad if another car had been coming. It's not safe."

Paul says without sidewalks, he often sees kids cutting through yards in the neighborhood.

"I don't think very many people like that either," he said. "Sidewalks would be a nice addition to the neighborhood."

The project would add sidewalks from the school on Park Avenue to 9th Street to the Speedway gas station and then continue in both directions on Solida Road, according to Chris Chiles, executive director of the KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission.

KYOVA is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Tri-State area of Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Chiles said KYOVA's policy committee approved a $640,000 grant to the village of South Point to go toward the estimated $800,000 cost of the project.

"The project is scheduled to begin in 2023, starting with the planning and design phases, followed by the anticipated construction, which would also be in phases," Chiles said. "That date could move up or down depending on the availability of funds and other factors, like any environmental issues that could come up."

Chiles said the grant funding comes from the federal government through the Ohio Department of Transportation.

"KYOVA recognizes that sidewalks have positive impacts in communities and improves the health and safety of its residents," Chiles added.

South Point Mayor Jeff Gaskin announced

that the grant had been approved at the village's last monthly meeting, according to an official in the mayor's office.

Gaskin said the village started working to get the grant in February 2018.

Gaskin said the 2023 projected start date could move up depending on how quickly the village is able to come up with the remaining $160,000 in funds, which could come from other grants or if other projects come in under budget.

He said there were multiple engineering "issues" that needed to be taken care of before the concrete can even be poured, such as water, gas and sewer lines, mailboxes and telephone poles along the path.

"I am just thrilled we are going to have sidewalks. There are safety issues right now," he said. "The older people, the bicyclists, the grade school children all will now be able to walk from grade school to the library."

Although he hasn't measured, Gaskin said he believes the length of the sidewalk will be about a half-mile and will connect to a sidewalk currently in front of the grade school. It will connect several businesses, the library, school and village hall, he said.

"I just couldn't be more excited we got it," he said. "It was a long, hard path from February 2018. I didn't get up one morning and say, 'I think I'll get ($800,000) for the sidewalk.'"

Follow reporter Fred Pace at and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

Ohio man faces several charges in Wayne County

WAYNE — An Ohio man was jailed by the West Virginia State Police in Wayne County on Saturday on warrants alleging domestic and gun violence.

Robert Anthony Haynes, 36, of Obetz, Ohio, was jailed at 10:20 p.m. Saturday. Authorities in Wayne County charged him with brandishing, assault, wanton endangerment, domestic assault, domestic battery and strangulation. Bond was $20,024.

According to criminal complaints filed in Wayne County Magistrate Court, officers responded to the first block of Hampton Ridge Road at about 8:30 p.m. May 10 in reference to a firearms complaint.

A man and several women at the home said the defendant drove by the residence while pointing a firearm at him before yelling at him, driving about 10 feet away from the residence and firing his weapon.

One woman said she asked him to leave the home, but he refused.

A separate complaint alleges police responded at about 5:15 p.m. May 23 to a domestic disturbance in the 800 block of Lick Log Branch Road near Dunlow, West Virginia. A woman told police she got into an argument with Haynes when he allegedly struck her leg and choked her.

The victim said she was afraid Haynes might shoot her.

Ironton man killed in crash

FRANKLIN FURNACE, Ohio — An Ironton area man was killed Monday in a one-vehicle crash in Scioto County, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Drug impairment is believed to be a factor in the crash, according to a report from the State Highway Patrol.

Clara R. Clermont, 38, of Ironton, was headed southbound on Gallia Pike when the vehicle she was driving, a 2001 Ford Explorer, went off the west side of the road and down an embankment, striking a utility pole and overturning, according to a news release from the State Highway Patrol.

She was transported to the Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the report.

Timothy Stapleton, 53, of Ironton, a front-seat passenger in the vehicle, wasn't wearing a seat belt, according to the report. He was partially ejected during the crash and was trapped underneath the vehicle, according to the report.

Stapleton was airlifted to St. Mary's Medical Center in Huntington where he later died from his injuries, according to the report.

The crash was reported at 6:50 p.m. Monday on Gallia Pike, approximately a quarter-mile north of Ironton Avenue in Green Township.

The crash remains under investigation by troopers from the Portsmouth Post of the State Highway Patrol.

Man accused of attacking 2 women in Putnam County


WINFIELD, W.Va. — A man is accused of attacking and threatening two women after police responded to a domestic incident Monday on Franklin Street in Buffalo, West Virginia.

Tony Lee Buck, 55, was jailed at 5:50 p.m. Monday, according to booking records at Western Regional Jail. Authorities in Putnam County charged him with being a prohibited person with a firearm, strangulation, wanton endangerment, battery, assault, domestic battery and domestic assault. A $150,000 cash-only bond was set.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Putnam County Magistrate Court, a woman told police the suspect came into a residence on Franklin Street in Buffalo where she and another female were. The first woman said the suspect said he came to speak with the woman. The suspect then grabbed the second woman by the hair, pulled her out on the front porch, threw her down and pointed a shotgun at her face, saying he was going to kill her.

The second woman told police she grabbed the gun and there was a struggle in which she ended up being strangled

by the suspect. The first woman told police she hit the suspect over the head with some latticework, at which point the suspect grabbed and hit her. The suspect left the area after the struggle.

Police allegedly located a single-barrel shotgun with a live round in it, and it appeared someone had attempted to discharge the weapon, but it did not fire.

Shortly after police left to locate the suspect, a fire broke out at the residence, which does not have electricity.

The complaint states the suspect has a history of threatening, attempting to harm and following/spying on the second female victim.

Buck was convicted of grand larceny in 1983 and second-degree arson in 1993.



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