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Ohio’s Sunday alcohol sales restrictions would vanish under legislators’ proposal

A bipartisan group of Ohio legislators has introduced a bill in the Ohio House of Representatives that would allow all bars, restaurants and liquor stores to treat Sundays just as they would any other day of the week when it comes to alcohol sales.

The "Sunday Alcohol, Liquor, and Especially Spirits (SALES) Act," House Bill 783, would “eliminate provisions of law governing local option elections for such Sunday sales,” according to a summary posted on the Ohio General Assembly’s web site

>> Ohio’s Pappy Van Winkle bourbon lottery is underway

The proposal was introduced last week by State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township, Clermont County) and State Rep. Anthony DeVitis, (R-Green, Summit County). One of the four co-sponsors of the bill is State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain).

>> NEW TODAY: THE GREENE: former restaurant squandered chance to defend itself in its eviction lawsuit

Becker told this news outlet in a phone interview this morning that he introduced the bill in part to help a constituent who is gearing up to open an restaurant in his district east of Cincinnati and who was unaware the new establishment would not be allowed to serve alcohol on Sunday unless it successfully sought voter approval of a local liquor option on a precinct ballot.

Currently, the passage of a local liquor option for Sunday sales is required for many liquor, beer or wine license-holders to sell and serve alcohol on Sundays. These “local option” ballot issues show up on several precinct ballots throughout the state. 

Becker said Ohio Division of Liquor Control officials told him the Sunday restrictions were put in place after Prohibition was repealed. 

>> PHOTOS: Inside gorgeous Oakwood homes decorated for its very first holiday home tour

Becker said his proposal will not affect the ability of a precinct’s voters to ban alcohol sales altogether and make theirs a “dry precinct,” but would eliminate the hassle and expense of the “local option” elections and of treating Sunday alcohol sales differently from every other day of the week.

It’s not clear what chance the proposed legislation has of passing during this legislative term; the 132nd Ohio General Assembly is wrapping up its work in the coming days. Becker said there is a chance the proposal could be attached to an existing bill.

>> NEW TODAY: Cold? This new restaurant serves up big ole bowls of hot, delicious soup 

“The chances are slim, but it’s always possible,” he said.

The Clermont County legislator said he has every intention of re-introducing the bill next  year if it is not passed in the current legislative session.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Division of Liquor  Control said this morning, Dec. 11, that division officials are aware of the proposal and “will work to uphold any changes the legislature decides to enact.”

Clifton Mill wins national TV show light contest

Dozens of residents in the area took congratulated Clifton Mill Monday night on Facebook for winning a national light fight contest. 

The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill won $50,000 in “The Great Christmas Light Fight” that aired on a national television show.

>> WATCH: The Great Christmas Light Fight will feature Clifton Mill

Springfield resident Scott Vogel said he’s never been inside Clifton Mill and didn’t really know the attractions available there, but now he’s thinking about going in to see what he hasn’t seen before.

“People compete nationwide. There were only four contestants and it was tough competition. I didn’t think they were gonna win at first, but it’s not just based on lights, it’s based on the community, too, and a lot of other factors go into it,” he said. “To beat the others out, yeah I’m happy.”

>> RELATED: Clifton Mill lights significantly damaged by flooding

Vogel said Clifton is a small town that doesn’t have many other attractions to prompt people to visit.

“It’s impressive, too, because that town is only about 150 people I think. If you blink, you’d miss it. People go down there for hiking and camping. There’s no stores or shopping, but only one restaurant and that’s at the mill.”

>> WATCH: Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill

This is co-owner Anthony Satariano’s 30th year. He started out with 100,000 lights, and this year’s attraction  involved  4 million bulbs. Vogel says that’s what impressed him.

“For the community to pull it off ... it’s not a local show, it’s a national show. Of course I’m proud,” he said. “I think as a whole, Ohio won. I think it’s going to inspire a lot of people who may haven’t known about it. They’re gonna think, ‘now we gotta check that out.’ It could bring people from other states. I just thought it was fantastic. They won, that to me is news.”

Ohio’s Pappy Van Winkle bourbon lottery to expand this year with more bottles, online entries

Ohio will expand its holiday bourbon lottery this year to give more of the Buckeye state’s bourbon enthusiasts the opportunity to purchase some of the most sought-after spirits on the market, including, yes, the Pappy Van Winkle 23-year that to some aficionados is the Holy Grail of bourbon.

>> RELATED: Ohio finds a New Riff for its single-barrel bourbon program

Ohio Division of Liquor Control Superintendent Jim Canepa announced today, Nov. 14, that the 2018 Ohio Bottle Lottery begins at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10 and runs through 11:59 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. That 12-day stretch is the entry period. Similar to last year, paper entries will be available at all 475 state liquor-agency stores, but new this year, Ohioans can enter online without fussing with a paper ticket by going to after the lottery begins. All entries, whether paper or online, will have an equal chance of winning.

>> EVICTED: The Greene wins $384k judgment against former restaurant

And that’s not all that’s new this year. The 2018 lottery includes not only all of the Pappy Van Winkle collection that was sold last year (a few more bottles of it, actually), but also five other relatively rare  bottles that are part of the Buffalo Trace Distillery Antique Collection, Canepa said. (The full list is below.)

>> PHOTOS: Take a look inside the new Belle of Dayton distillery Van Buren Room 

Those Ohioans whose names are drawn will be notified during the first full week of January, then will have a week, between Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, to buy their special bottles at their designated state liquor agency store.

To be clear here, winners of the lottery are NOT NOT NOT winning a free bottle of bourbon. They are winning the right to purchase one bottle of a specific bourbon that has been designated on their winning entry. They will have to pay the regular, but not-jacked-up, retail price. 

RELATED: ‘GAME-CHANGER’: Ohio’s small distilleries catch big break from the state

And if the retail prices listed here sound high, just Google some of those Pappy  products and take a look at what they’re selling for on the secondary market elsewhere in the country. The results may astonish you.

Here are the products that are included in the Lottery: 

Pappy Van Winkle 

  •  Old Rip Van Winkle 10, $54.96 
  •  Old Rip Van Winkle 12, $64.22 
  •  Pappy Van Winkle 15, $91.98 
  •  Pappy Van Winkle 20, $156.80 
  •  Pappy Van Winkle 23, $249.38 

 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

  •  Eagle Rare 17, $99.99 
  •  George T. Stagg, $99.99 
  •  Sazerac Rye 18, $99.99 
  •  Thomas H. Handy, $99.99 
  •  William Larue Weller, $99.99 

 Canepa said the division of liquor control is holding the lotteries to give as many Ohioans as possible the chance to purchase some of the tiny-batch production bourbons in high demand nationwide. The division superintendent himself has been making pitches to the distilleries that produce some of these rare, sought-after bourbons to allocate some bottles to Ohio.

“We’re trying to create the best market in our state so we can lure producers to bring their product to our market,” Canepa said in a conference call today with journalists regarding the 2018 bottle lottery.

RELATED: Local distilleries get green light to offer food, drinks (May 2016)

Lottery tickets will ask the entrant for the usual information plus his or her Ohio Driver’s License number, which will be used to confirm the winners are indeed residents of the Buckeye state and are of legal drinking age.

Here’s a bit more of the legal language the Ohio Liquor Control agency shared:

The 2018 Ohio Bottle Lottery is limited to one entry per person. There is no cost to enter, and no purchase is necessary at a Contract Liquor Agency to receive a ticket. Winners have the right to purchase one bottle at retail. Bottles are for personal use, not for resale. Bottles available for purchase will be determined by Division of Liquor Control staff. Entrants must be at least 21 years old and an Ohio resident to enter and win. Entrants acknowledge that their information becomes a public record subject to possible public release under Ohio’s public records law. The lottery is not open to employees of the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, Republic National Distributing Company, JobsOhio, agency store owners and their employees/immediate families. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. 12/21/2018. Winners will be notified in early January. Winners must purchase their bottle by 2/1/2019 or risk forfeiting the ability to purchase.

Pike County murders: 1 of 6 suspects makes first court appearance

UPDATE @ 2:42 p.m. (Nov. 14):

George “Billy” Wagner III waived extradition on the murder charges filed against him during his initial appearance in a Fayette County, Kentucky, courtroom, according to CNN affiliate LEX18.


>>Death penalty possible for 4 of 6 arrested in Rhoden slayings

>>Ohio AG DeWine lays out charges in 2016 Rhoden family killings

>>Who are the Wagners? Pike County murder investigators want to know

Extradition is when one law enforcement agency captures a suspect who is wanted in another jurisdiction and returns the suspect to the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed.

George “Billy” Wagner III must be back in Ohio by Dec. 7, however, the deputy Ohio attorney general said he would return well before that, according to LEX18.

George “Billy” Wagner III was arrested Tuesday by Lexington police on Georgetown Road.

According to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, he was contacted by the Pike County sheriff a couple days ago and asked if he could house George "Billy" Wagner III in the Butler County Jail in Hamilton. Jones told the sheriff that he would.

“I have heard he has waived extradition, but I do not know for sure if he is coming. I haven’t heard from the sheriff and I haven’t bothered him; he has been busy,” Jones said.

Jones said Pike County prisoners have routinely been housed in the Butler County Jail, as many as 80 at a time. 

The four Wagner family members are being held in jails in separate counties.

“I assume that they don’t want them in the same jail (to avoid contact with each other). The grapevine in a jail travels fast,” Jones said.

UPDATE @ 11:04 a.m.: 

The mothers of two suspects in the 2016 Pike County killings are scheduled to be in court Thursday for their roles in an alleged coverup.

Fredericka Wagner, mother of  George “Billy” Wagner III, and Rita Newcomb, mother of Angela Wagner, are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in Pike County, according to a court official.Wagner and Newcomb are charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.

Newcomb also is facing a forgery charge.


George “Billy” Wagner III is scheduled to appear in a Kentucky courtroom a day after he and other family members were arrested in connection to the 2016 killings of eight Rhoden family members in Pike County. 

LATEST COVERAGE: Pike County murders: 5 questions answered Wednesday morning

>>Attorney General: A ‘picture emerged’ as Pike County murder investigation progressed

Billy will appear for an extradition hearing at 1 p.m. in a Lexington courtroom, according to court records. 


>>Death penalty possible for 4 of 6 arrested in Rhoden slayings

>>Ohio AG DeWine lays out charges in 2016 Rhoden family killings

>>Who are the Wagners? Pike County murder investigators want to know

Billy was arrested in Lexington Tuesday after he and other family members were indicted on several charges connected to the murders of the eight Rhodens. 

We are still working to learn when the other members of the Wagner family will appear in Ohio courtrooms. The other family members were arrested in Ohio and are being detained in four county jails -- Pickaway, Franklin, Ross, and Delaware counties. 

Tuesday, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office announced the arrests of Billy, 47, Angela Wagner, 48, and their sons George Wagner IV, 27, and Edward “Jake” Wagner after they were indicted on eight counts of aggravated murder, among other charges connected to the killings. 

Each count, for each victim, carries a death penalty specification. 

Authorities made two additional arrests for the “cover-up” of the crime, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. 

Fredericka Wagner, the mother of Billy Wagner, and Rita Newcomb, the mother of Angela Wagner, were indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. Newcomb also was indicted on forgery charges, according to court documents.


Pike County murders: ‘Active and ongoing’ continues 

Pike County murders: 3 big questions, 2 years later

Rhoden family member’s Pike County death came from gunshot to chest

Pike County murders: Alaska, Ohio police ‘inundated’ with tips

The six were indicted in the deaths of Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Dana Manley Rhoden, 37; Hanna May Rhoden, 19; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 20; Kenneth Rhoden, 44; and Gary Rhoden, 38, all found dead April 22, 2016. 

This story will be updated throughout the day with the latest as it becomes available. 

Pike County murders: Death penalty possible for 4 of 6 arrested in Rhoden killings 

Four people arrested Tuesday on aggravated murder charges for the 2016 slayings of eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County include a man who shared a 2-year-old daughter with one of the victims.

A dispute over custody played a role in the homicides, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said, and two other family members are accused of trying to “cover up” the crimes.

Arrested Tuesday were George “Billy” Wagner III, 47; his wife, Angela Wagner, 48; and their sons, George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner, 27 and 26. 

Rita Newcomb, 65, of South Webster and Fredericka Wagner, 76, grandmothers in the Wagner family, are charged with trying to “cover-up” the crime, DeWine said.

TIMELINE: The shocking events of the 2016 Pike County shootings

RELATED: Who are the Wagners? Pike County murders investigators want to know

Investigators combed through 1,100 tips, but the final piece of evidence that led to the indictments of the Wagner family and their arrests Tuesday came two weeks ago on Oct. 30, when, DeWine said, authorities confirmed the existence of a homemade silencer the suspects are accused of building.

He described a sophisticated scheme, saying the suspects bought ammunition, a device to catch spent shell casings, a “bug” detector, and specific shoes from Walmart as they prepared to commit the crimes.

DeWine said, “The Wagners were friends with the Rhodens and had been for years. They knew the layouts of the Rhodens’ homes, and they knew the victims’ routines.”

The suspects also are accused of installing “counter-surveillance devices” on the properties of the victims, illegally monitoring various social media accounts and forging custody documents.

“It is our belief that the suspects used this knowledge to meticulously plan these horrendous, cold-blooded murders,” he said.

DeWine, at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, was asked whether the family was killed to prevent survivors from claiming custody of then-2-year-old Sophia, the daughter of arrested Edward “Jake” Wagner and victim Hanna Rhoden.

“Draw your own conclusions,” DeWine said.

Edward “Jake” Wagner also is charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He’s accused of engaging in sexual contact with Hanna Rhoden when she was 15 and he was 20.

Sophia is in the care of children services, DeWine said.

Sophia wasn’t there when her mother was killed. There were three children – ages 3, 6 months and 4 days – found alive in two of the three mobile homes where the eight bodies were found in rural Pike County. 

Also slain were Hanna’s parents Dana and Christopher Rhoden Sr.; her brothers, Christopher Rhoden Jr. and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden; Frankie’s girlfriend, Hannah Gilley; Christopher Rhoden Sr.’s brother, Kenny Rhoden, and cousin Gary Rhoden. 

Dana Rhoden’s father, Leonard Manley, previously has said Jake Wagner and his granddaughter were in a custody dispute over Sophia.

George Washington “Billy” Wagner III, arrested in Lexington, Ky., remains in the Lexington Fayette County Jail as a “fugitive from another state” according to jail records. An extradition hearing will be scheduled for him.

The rest of the family members were arrested in Ohio and are being detained in four county jails -- Pickaway, Franklin, Ross, and Delaware counties.


George Washington Wagner III, Angela Jo Wagner, George Washington Wagner IV and Edward Jacob Wagner are each indicted on the following charges:

  • 8 counts aggravated murder, (plus gun specifications on each)
  • 1 count conspiracy
  • 4 counts aggravated burglary
  • 1 count unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance
  • 3 counts evidence tampering
  • 1 count forgery
  • 1 count unauthorized use of property
  • 1 count interception of wire, oral or electronic communication
  • 1 count obstructing justice
  • 1 count engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity

Jake Wagner also faces one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor involving the relationship he had with Hannah Rhoden.

Rita Jo Newcomb is indicted on:

  • 3 counts forgery
  • 1 count obstructing justice
  • 1 count perjury

Fredericka Carol Wagner is indicted on:

  • 1 count obstructing justice
  • 1 count perjury

John Kearson Clark, the Wagner family attorney, issued the following statement: “The Wagners eagerly look forward to their trials and to have their day in court so they can vindicate their names. The Wagners are also ever so hopeful that in the ensuing months there will be a thorough vetting of all the facts. 

“We look forward to the day when the true culprits will be discovered and brought to justice for this terrible tragedy.”  

The Wagner family moved to Alaska in 2017, but didn’t stay long, said Kelly Cinereski, a pastor and friend of the family who lives in Seward, Alaska.

“They were trying to run from the story so they could live a normal life, but everywhere they went it wasn’t normal,” he said. 

Cinereski, who knew the Wagners in Ohio before he moved to Alaska, said they were “just a down-to-Earth, good wholesome family. 

“These people wept over dogs, I can’t imagine them taking people’s lives,” he said when told of the charges. 

“If they did it, I hope they get tried to the max. If they didn’t, I hope they get pleaded,” Cinereski said. 

Pike County Prosecutor Robert Junk cautioned that Tuesday’s arrests are just the beginning of a very long process that could take years. 

“There is a lot of hard work ahead of us,” he said, “I cannot emphasize that enough.”


Pike County murders:  ‘Active and ongoing’ continues 

Pike County murders: 3 big questions, 2 years later

Rhoden family member’s Pike County death came from gunshot to chest

Pike County murders: Alaska, Ohio police ‘inundated’ with tips

Mega Millions winner first $1 million ticket in Kettering mini market’s history

They may have missed out on the big prize, but someone in Kettering still had plenty of luck on their side for Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing.

Bee Gee’s Minit Market in Kettering sold its first $1 million ticket in the historic Mega Millions drawing, according to an Ohio Lottery spokesperson. 

RELATED: Mega Millions latest: 1 winning $1.6B ticket sold in South Carolina

“I got a phone call this morning just after 7,” said Michael Sliger, manager at Bee Gee’s. “It turns out, we had a million dollar winner here in Kettering.”

Though it was the store’s first million dollar Mega Millions winner, Bee Gee’s has sold other winning tickets for even bigger jackpots.

“Actually, we had a $8 million winner at this location in Classic Lotto,” Sliger said. “We’ve had a couple different million dollar winners and hundred thousand dollar winners multiple times.”

Bee Gee’s will receive a $1,000 sales bonus for selling the million dollar ticket and Sliger already has plans for that money.

“Celebrating a little bit,” he said. “Passing on some to the employees. Everybody has been working really hard.”

The mini market is the top cashier of Mega Millions prizes and top-selling Mega Millions retailer in its region, according to Ohio Lottery.

In the last fiscal year, Bee Gee’s reportedly sold $21,350 in Mega Millions prizes and $220,010 in tickets.

News Center 7 was reporting live throughout the day Tuesday at the store as tickets were being sold.

Twelve other million-dollar tickets were sold among the U.S. lotteries, with Ohio selling one ticket that came close. 

The winning tickets matched all five numbers without the Mega Ball, securing the $1 million prize. The Ohio winner used auto pick to choose the winning numbers. 

Ohioans have won 19 jackpot prizes and secured more than 30 winning tickets of $1 million or more. 

Last night’s winning numbers: 5-28-62-65-70 and Mega ball 5.

One winning $1.6 billion ticket was sold in South Carolina. 

ODOT: Slower drivers need to move out of left lanes

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is promoting a new campaign to get slower drivers to move out of the left lane on Ohio highways.

An ODOT spokesperson told News Center 7’s James Buechele the department got the idea from the State of Washington who posted signs saying, “Camp in the mountains not the left lane.”

The State of Ohio is now putting up electronic signs that say, “Camp in Ohio State Parks not the left lane.”

“I think it’s a good idea but will people follow it. That’s the thing,” said Michael Sanders of Englewood.

OTHER NEWS: ODOT holding job fair Sep. 22 for District 8 counties

“I ride up the highway every day, like I said up until the last week, there are people that drive sometimes slow in that lane,” he continued.

When drivers cruise or camp in the left lane, other drivers are forced to pass them on the right hand side, which can lead to road rage.

“They will almost clip your bumper with their back bumper almost like a sign of aggression and road rage. I see it a lot,” said Sanders. 

OTHER NEWS: Child taken to hospital, pronounced dead after traffic crash in Highland County

ODOT doesn’t keep statistics on what incidents lead to road rage, but drivers that stay in the left lane can make driving dangerous for everyone else on the highways.

“If they’re going too slow in that lane, then it’s definitely annoying because that’s meant to get around for people and if you’re not allowing that they can get very angry at you I guess,” she continued.

It’s unknown how long this campaign will go on for, but more messages will be showing up for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

Amber Alert canceled for 9-year-old boy abducted from Lewis Center, Ohio

UPDATE Sept. 9 @ 3:50 p.m.:

The Amber Alert has been canceled. 

INITIAL REPORT Sept. 7 @ 9:10 p.m. :

An Amber Alert has been issued for a 9-year-old boy last seen Sept. 1.

Eli Opembe is a black male with black hair and brown eyes who stands 4 feet, 10 inches and weighs 85 pounds.

He is believed to be with his non-custodial mother, Verona Thomas, described as a 38-year-old black woman who stands 5 feet 10 inches and has black hair and brown eyes.

They may be riding in a blue 2010 Nissan Altima with Connecticut plates AB68371.

Anyone with information is urged to call 911.

Got a tip? Call our 24-hour monitored line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

Florida law requires 'In God We Trust' to be displayed in all schools

A bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in March now means students will see “In God We Trust” displayed at all schools in the state.

WPTV reported that the law requires the state motto to be shown in a “conspicuous place.”

>> Read more trending news 

According to state statute 1003.44, “Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.”

According to the Florida Department of State, “In God We Trust” was adopted by the state legislature as part of the state seal in 1868. It was officially designated as Florida’s state motto in 2006.

Missing Adult Alert cancelled for northern Ohio man, 79

UPDATE @ 3:40 a.m: The statewide Missing Adult Alert has been canceled for James Doud, 79, by the Brook Park Police Department, according to a press release. 

Mr. Doud was located safely, the release stated. 


An Endangered Missing Adult Alert has been issued for a 79-year-old northern Ohio man who has not been seen since he left his home Monday afternoon. 

James Doud has Alzheimer's and was last seen about 5 p.m. leaving his residence on Almont Drive in Brook Park, Cuyahoga County. 

SEE ALSO: Police look for info about woman found in car

He is 6-feet-tall, about 200 pounds, has gray hair and blue eyes. He was believed to have been wearing a brown T-shirt and demin jeans. 

Authorities believe he was last seen driving a blue 2007 Mercury Grand Marquis bearing Ohio license plate GHW 9939. 

Call or dial 911 if you see Doud or the car. Call 866-693-9171 for the Ohio Attorney General Missing Persons Unit or 911 to be transferred to the Brook Park Police Department.

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