Minimum wage to go up 5 cents

Columbus -- Ohio's minimum-wage workers will see a nickel-per-hour boost to their paychecks come January, state officials announced Sept. 29.

As of Jan. 1, Ohio's minimum wage will increase to $8.15 for non-tipped employees (up from $8.10) and $4.08 for tipped ones (up from $4.05) at businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $299,000, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce.

Minimum wage for employees at smaller companies and for 14- and 15-year-old workers will remain at $7.25 per hour, matching the federal rate in those categories.

A constitutional amendment OK'd by voters a decade ago requires the state's rate to increase on Jan. 1 annually to account for inflation. The language required the increase to be decided by the end of September each year.

Ohio's minimum wage was $7.70 for non-tipped employees and $3.85 for tipped ones in 2012. The rate has increased annually since then except this year, when the rate remain unchanged from 2015's numbers, according to the commerce department.

-- Marc Kovac, Capital Bureau

State considers

voter registration awareness day

Columbus -- The fourth Tuesday in September would be designated to draw attention to voter registration, under legislation OK'd by the Ohio Senate Sept. 28.

SB 169 passed on a unanimous vote and heads to the Ohio House for further consideration.

The bill would establish Voter Registration Awareness Day in Ohio annually, matching a designation promoted by the National Association of Secretaries of State, said Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Copley).

SB 169 also calls for government offices to encourage their employees to register to vote or update their address and other information.

LaRose acknowledged the numerous other designations codified by lawmakers, but he said a day to focus on the importance of voter registration was important.

-- Marc Kovac, Capital Bureau

Driver arrested after 1 killed, 1 injured

in I-480 crash

Cleveland -- The Ohio State Highway Patrol has arrested a driver in connection with a highway crash along Interstate 480 that left one woman dead and another woman injured. says court records show that 48-year-old Clark Justen, of Brunswick, has been charged in the case.

Twenty-seven-year-old Tanisha Matthews, of Maple Heights, died just before 9:30 p.m. Oct. 1 after a pickup truck struck her and a 23-year-old companion while they were changing a tire. Justen was arrested near the Ridge Road exit.

The second woman was in fair condition Oct. 2 at a hospital.

Justen has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle and possession of heroin.

-- Associated Press

Schools close

after clown

attack reported

Cincinnati -- A suburban Cincinnati school district has closed schools after a woman reported being grabbed around the neck by a male dressed as a clown who she said made a threat against students.

Reading Community City School District officials referred to the threat in a Facebook posting announcing district schools would be closed Sept. 30. School officials said they take all threats seriously and were concerned about the number of students who walk to school in the early morning.

People in other parts of Ohio and other states have reported scary or suspicious encounters with people dressed like clowns in recent weeks.

Police in the Cincinnati suburb of Colerain Township say they arrested a juvenile Sept. 29 in connection with a clown threat there involving threatened harm to Colerain High School students.

-- Associated Press

Arrest made after fake cop abducts, assaults 9-year-old

Massillon -- A man who police say abducted and sexually assaulted a 9-year-old girl has pleaded not guilty to rape and kidnapping charges.

Forty-five-year-old Dennis Menefee Jr., of Port Washington, appeared Sept. 30 in Massillon Municipal Court, where a judge set a $2 million bond.

He's being assigned a public defender.

Police say the girl was walking home from the library Sept. 26 in Massillon when a man impersonating a police officer told her she'd been reported missing. Police say it was Menefee who forced her into his pickup truck and sexually assaulted her in a parking lot.

Menefee was arrested Sept. 28 near Columbus while working as a flag man on a road construction project.

-- Associated Press