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Here are some of today's top headlines from around the area, including an Akron man who allegedly bit and pepper-sprayed his postal worker, a cancelled donkey basketball game and a request to dismiss charges from radio personalities Rover and Chocolate Charlie.
ROVER TRIAL: Lawyers for WMMS radio personality Shane "Rover" French and his sidekick Michael "Chocolate Charlie" Toomey are requesting that a Cuyahoga County judge dismiss charges including assault, criminal damaging, resisting arrest and inducing panic made in July, alleging that Cleveland police destroyed evidence, according to The Plain Dealer. The charges stem from an altercation on July 5 when an off-duty officer reported that French had shot fireworks in his direction and then shoved him upon confrontation. French and Toomey's lawyers say that an audiotaped statement from Officer Steven Kinas, which a Cleveland officer said was deleted accidentally could have been erased to give Kinas the chance for a do-over. French's attorneys also said the new statement is inconsistent with eyewitness statements and surveillance videos. Click here to read more at Cleveland.com.
KIDS ON DRUGS: Ohio Minds Matter, an Akron-based project launched about a year and a half ago, is working to reduce the overuse of psychiatric drugs in Ohio children with mental or behavioral issues, particularly those on Medicaid, according to the Beacon Journal. The agency provides education and tools for families, doctors and others such as school officials on the best use of psychiatric medications and alternatives such as therapy and devices. The program's goal for July 31 includes a 25 percent reduction of the following among children on Medicaid: atypical antipsychotic medications in children younger than 6; two or more atypical antipsychotic drugs for more than two months; and four or more psychotropic medicines in children and adolescents. Click here to read more at Ohio.com.
DONKEY BALL CANCELLED: A donkey basketball game — yes, basketball played on live donkeys — planned to raise money for the Brunswick High School after-prom party was cancelled amid threats that protesters would appear at the Feb. 19 fundraiser, according to The Plain Dealer. The donkeys come from the Buckeye Donkey Ball company in Columbus, which assures that the animals are treated humanely, but animal activists The Cleveland Animal Rights Meetup Group, Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary and local members of PETA were preparing to protest. This would have been the first time the Brunswick City School District held a donkey basketball game since the late 1970s. Click here to read more at Cleveland.com.
HORIZONTAL DRILLING: Several Columbiana County property owners were forced to lease their land for horizontal drilling using a 50-year-old state "utilization" law, according to the Tribune Chronicle. The law says companies drilling for oil and gas in Ohio can force property owners to become part of a drilling unit, increasing the units production, as long as the purpose of that lease is to achieve a 640-acre unit or meet minimum distance requirements from non-unit properties. About 27 utilization requests were have been filed statewide to date, eight of which were approved and six of which were after 2011. At least two other applications in the county are pending. Click here to read more at TribToday.com.
GOING POSTAL: Akron-native Robert Kiefer, 25, was arrested and charged with assault Saturday for allegedly attacking a postal worker with pepper spray and biting him in the leg, according to the Beacon Journal. Kiefer, upset that the postal worker didn't have a check he was waiting for, allegedly used the postal worker's own pepper spray and sprayed him in the eyes before the two started fighting in the street. Kiefer was also charged with resisting arrest after police had to pepper spray him to subdue him. Kiefer was unable to post $1,000 bond set Monday and is due in court Feb. 21. Click here to read more at Ohio.com.