Friday, December 6, 2013

Airports May Reject Ohio Driver's Licenses as Valid Identification

Posted By on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 3:26 PM


Travelers, take heed. The next time you try to board an airplane, your state-issued Ohio driver's license may not be accepted as valid identification.

Today, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles publicly announced its decision to back off plans to comply with the Department of Homeland Security's "Real ID" plan due to privacy concerns. Their main issues? Facial recognition software that prevents folks from obtaining multiple licenses, as well as policies to store personal documents.

via the Columbus Dispatch:

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles decided about five months ago to back off the Real ID compliance plan approved by the federal Department of Homeland Security, but it never made a public announcement about the change.

State officials balked at the “one driver-one license” rule and at being required to store and share copies of personal documents, such as birth certificates, said Joe Andrews, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

States generally are complying with the one-license rule by using facial-recognition software to scan photos to determine if an applicant previously was issued a license under another name.

“The objection is that it’s not acceptable in many circles in Ohio to do facial recognition on everyone who comes in to get a license,” Andrews said.

Amid privacy protests, Ohio officials also are considering limiting law-enforcement use of facial-recognition software to scan a database of photos, including driver’s-license images, which quietly went online in June.

The so-called “national ID card” also has sparked concerns over a centralized government registry of copies of identification documents used to obtain licenses. “People have concerns we are trampling their rights if we do this,” Andrews said.

Ohio is one of many states that is uneasy about the federal standards intended to tighten up access to driver's licenses. The standards are a direct result of the 9/11 plane hijackers’ use of fake state IDs. Ohio's refusal to comply could also result in Ohio licenses not being accepted to enter federal buildings.

Read the full report from the Columbus Dispatch here.

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Filming for Horror Film "Fear Clinic" Underway in Medina

Posted By on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 1:31 PM

The weather's getting colder, but Ohio's film industry is heating up.

Part of the team that worked on Miss Meadows, starring Katie Holmes, this summer in Cleveland were so impressed that they're back for Round 2.

Fear Clinic, a full-length feature film is currently being filmed in Medina. The flick is next in the recent string of movies filmed in Northeast Ohio, including Jenny's Wedding, Captain America: the Winter Soldier, and Ghostbusters 3 , which *may* begin filming sometime next year.

The horror movie is based on a 2009 web series, and features actor Robert Englund, who is best known for playing Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street series.

In Fear Clinic, Englund plays Dr. Andover, a doctor who specializes in overcoming phobias. Most of the filming will take place in the old Sophia Huntington Parker Home for Pythian Sisters on North Huntington Street.

The cast was also filmed in the town square, capturing Medina's charming gazebo and Christmas tree in the background. Local restaurant Eli's Kitchen was the setting for a traumatic scene that is key to the story.

The film's publicist, Mani Isler, told the Akron Beacon Journal that Fear Clinic is "the most watched horror web series in history." The cast and crew hope that the film version will be finished in time to be released for the 2014 Halloween season.

The horror flick is one of many films to feature Cleveland and Ohio scenery, proving that Northeast Ohio is more than just a pretty face. We have lots of substance, such as the ideal small-town in America setting, to offer the film industry.

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PHOTOS: 4-Foot Gator Discovered at Garfield Heights Home

Posted By on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 11:56 AM

A Garfield Heights resident was cited earlier this morning after a 4-foot alligator was discovered at his home sometime yesterday.

According to Ed Jamison, the animal warden, complaints prompted an investigation, which led to Thursday's discovery in the 8900 block of McCracken, Fox 8 News reports.

The reptile was removed from the home and is now en route to the Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg, OH. Eventually, our scaley friend will end up at a rescue farm in South Carolina. 

Here are some photos from the rescue, courtesy of the City of Garfield Heights.




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Keane concert film to show at Cedar Lee Theatre and Digiplex Solon

Posted By on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 11:24 AM


Over the course of the past decade, British rockers Keane have sold some 11 million albums. They're not quite Coldplay numbers, but they're close. The group might be bigger overseas but moody songs like "Somewhere Only We Know," "Everybody's Changing," "Is It Any Wonder?," "Crystal Ball," "Silenced By The Night" and "Spiralling" have been hits around the world. Their new concert film The Best of Keane: Live from Berlin, captures a performance at Goya, one of the city’s most famous theaters. The film screens at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at the Cedar Lee and at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19 at Digiplex Solon Cinema 16. Tickets are $10.

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This Ohio Native's Obituary is Tremendous

Posted By on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 11:19 AM

  • Via The Oregonian
  • Judy
"The world's greatest man passed away" on Tuesday. John Judy's obituary, which ran in The Oregonian today, paints a picture of a beloved man and heroic dragon slayer.

Born in Columbia Station in 1969, Judy went on to live an amazing life. In fact, according to the death notice, the very moment of his birth inspired Iggy Pop's "1969."

Here's a bit more about Judy, quoted from his obituary:

He went off to college in Ashland where he formalized his education in ancient aliens and lover to all women. After college, he set off on his sailboat for a journey to be forever known as "Noah's Ark in reverse" where he endeavored to eat one of every animal. His only regret in life is that he was not able to complete this task. John became known on the sea as a romantic captain and he married many happy couples in international waters. He also was known for his heroic efforts. For example, he came across a beautiful woman in a raft who was in the need of a paddle and he built her one in a matter of minutes. But like all great things, John's time on the sea came to an end.

Do read the rest of this account of Judy's life.

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Data Shows Ohio's Widespread Convictions of Criminal Transmission of HIV

Posted By on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 10:51 AM

James McGonegal was indicted earlier this year on a series of sexual offense counts, but one in particular garnered interest and prompted discussion throughout the community: the third-degree felony charge of failing to disclose he was HIV-positive to the parks ranger he was soliciting for sex.

Here's the relevant section of the Ohio Revised Code:

2907.25 Prostitution - after positive HIV test.

(A) No person shall engage in sexual activity for hire.

(B) No person, with knowledge that the person has tested positive as a carrier of a virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, shall engage in sexual activity for hire.


(1) Whoever violates division (A) of this section is guilty of prostitution, a misdemeanor of the third degree.

(2) Whoever violates division (B) of this section is guilty of engaging in prostitution after a positive HIV test. If the offender commits the violation prior to July 1, 1996, engaging in prostitution after a positive HIV test is a felony of the second degree. If the offender commits the violation on or after July 1, 1996, engaging in prostitution after a positive HIV test is a felony of the third degree.

Effective Date: 05-30-1996

According to the Sero Project, an advocacy group that works to decriminalize these actions (by "fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice" and "ending inappropriate criminal prosecutions of people with HIV for non-disclosure of their HIV status..."), 16,565 people are living with HIV in Ohio. 69 of those people have been charged with these HIV-related crimes (for a total of 203 charges, 32 of which came down in Cuyahoga County).

And according to the Cleveland Department of Public Health, some 3,200 Cleveland residents are either HIV-positive or living with AIDS. Across Cuyahoga County, the number leaps to 4,708.

On Dec. 1, Propublica and BuzzFeed jointly published an investigative article on state laws surrounding criminal transmission of HIV here in the U.S. The piece was complemented by a wide-ranging data set that bores down on the cases in each state that has such laws on the books. Ohio is one of them. And these cases dot the state, from Cleveland to Cincinnati.

The investigation into states' laws reveals the stories behind a number of individual cases and the consequences that may spring from viral exposure legislation. For instance, as the authors note, "public health activities and law enforcement, which have traditionally been kept separate, can now overlap." That has resulted in some states (not Ohio, according to the report) seeing prosecutors using "subpoenas and warrants to force health officials to hand over these [disclosure] forms [known as Form 917s] along with other medical records, such as test results, as evidence against patients charged with violating viral exposure laws."

The article fleshes out a number of similar social and legal consequences of criminal transmission laws.

Here's an Ohio story that illustrates one of the many forms that prosecution of this law can take:

In one 2006 case, the defendant was already in prison when he was charged with an HIV-related offense.

Thomas Tompkins was serving his last month in prison at Ohio’s Richland Correctional Institution when a guard caught him performing oral sex on another inmate in the prison library. State police questioned the two inmates about whether the encounter was consensual, and both men agreed it was. But when Tompkins acknowledged that he had not disclosed his HIV-positive status to the other inmate, prosecutors accused him of felonious assault with HIV.

Scientists agree that a man who receives oral sex has virtually zero chance of contracting HIV.

Still, Tompkins pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated assault, adding an extra year to his sentence.

The data set gathered by the Propublica/BuzzFeed investigators is available for download.

(Regarding McGonegal's current open case with the county, his trial has been continued until Dec. 10.)

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Bruce Dern Gives Remarkable Performance in Nebraska

Posted By on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 10:27 AM


A slow-moving movie about a father and son reunion, director Alexander Payne's (About Schmidt, The Descendants) new movie Nebraska benefits from a spectacular performance by veteran actor Bruce Dern. While the film, which opens today at the Cedar Lee Theatre, probably won't generate enough buzz to merit a Oscar nod for Dern, he's certainly deserving of the accolades. Filmed in black-and-white and set in the starker parts of Montana and Nebraska, the film subtly deals with family turmoil.

Continue reading »

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