News briefs – Aug. 1

Staff report



PUCO REMINDS YOU TO CALL, CLICK OR TAP BEFORE YOU DIG – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) reminds you to call, click or tap before you dig. Not only will you know that you are safe to dig, you will prevent potential outages, costly repairs and serious or even fatal injuries.

Ohio Utility Protection Service (OUPS) is the communication link between Ohio individuals planning to dig and utility companies. OUPS now has multiple ways to request a check for underground utility lines or structures. Ohio law requires that anyone, homeowner or contractor, planning a digging project call, click or tap at least 48 hours and up to 10 days (not including weekends or legal holidays) before digging.

Before contacting OUPS, have your project plans, address, digging location and digging start date ready. After contacting OUPS, mark your digging location with white flags or white paint and then wait 48 hours for any utilities to mark your location for underground lines or structures.

* Call: Homeowners and contractors can call 8-1-1 or 1-800-362-2764 before any digging project.

* Click: OUPS offers online reporting systems at

* Tap: Homeowners and professional excavators can easily enter their excavation requests on their mobile device by using the OUPS mobile app. The app is currently available for free download on Apple and Android devices.

Together with the Oil & Gas Producers Underground Protection Service (OGPUPS) and OUPS, the PUCO reminds you to call, click or tap BEFORE you dig.

For more information, visit the Ohio Utilities Protection Service’s website at, the Oil and Gas Producers Underground Protection Service’s website at, or call 8-1-1 or 1-800-362-2764.

DEWINE REJECTS PETITION FOR OHIO MEDICAL CANNABIS AMENDMENT – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution which would attempt to legalize marijuana for medical use in the state.

On July 20th, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution, entitled “Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment,” from the group Ohio Medical Cannabis Care LLC. 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters were submitted. However, Attorney General DeWine found at least four defects with the summary language:

The summary language omits references to amendment language explaining that patient registry cards are automatically accepted if the proposed Ohio Medical Cannabis Commission fails to enact an approval process or to respond to applications within a specified time.

The summary language omits the reasons listed in the amendment for which the proposed commission may revoke patient registry cards.

The summary language omits references to amendment language specifying certain actions the proposed commission must take in a certain period of time after the effective date.

The summary language states that certain individuals administering marijuana to underage patients “shall not be criminalized,” when no such prohibition exists in the amendment language.

“For these reasons, I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment,” DeWine stated in a letter to the petitioners.

HUSTED NAMES SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR FOR RESPONSIBLEOHIO PETITIONS, SUBPOENAS RECORDS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today named David Bowers to serve as a special investigator to review discrepancies in the petitions submitted by ResponsibleOhio in their effort to place a constitutional amendment before voters this fall.

“As with every possible case of election fraud, it is my responsibility to investigate and hold accountable anyone who may have cheapened the voice of all Ohioans by cheating the system,” said Husted. “I have long stated that voter fraud is rare, but it happens; and when it does, we will call out the guilty parties and hold them accountable.”

Significant disparities remain between the number of petitions and signatures ResponsibleOhio claimed to have collected and the number the group actually submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. There are also discrepancies between the hard-copy petitions and what should have been identical electronic copies of those petitions. Such discrepancies, if the product of fraud, are subject to criminal penalties up to a fifth degree felony.

Secretary Husted will also exercise his authority under section 3501.05 of the Ohio Revised Code to subpoena Ian James and any relevant records in the possession of ResponsibleOhio and The Strategy Group to aid in the investigation.

FAMILY MEMBERS INDICTED — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced the indictments of two individuals accused of improperly spending more than a million dollars belonging to legendary late professional golfer Charles Sifford Sr.

A Cuyahgoa County grand jury indicted Charles Sifford’s son, Craig Sifford, 48, and daughter-in-law, Sandra Sifford, 48, both of Brecksville, with three counts of theft, one count of money laundering, and one count of unauthorized use of property. Sandra Sifford is also facing an additional charge of receiving stolen property.

The indictments follow an investigation conducted as part of Attorney General DeWine’s Elder Justice Initiative by agents with the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) with assistance from Cuyahoga County Adult Protective Services. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office is prosecuting the case.


Staff report