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Ohio lawmakers consider new “stand your ground” law

614now Staff

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A new stand your ground law based on Florida legislation and written by the group Ohio Gun Owners is being considered by state lawmakers.

The proposed legislation adds a pre-trial immunity clause, which some saw as one of the difficulties in getting a similar law passed the last time it came before Ohio lawmakers.

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Under the pre-trial immunity clause, prosecutors who choose to charge someone with murder as the result of a shooting in which they claim self-defense would have to provide clear and convincing evidence to a judge that the accused did not act in self-defense before the trial could proceed.​

Prosecutors who failed to provide this evidence would be required to pay the defendant’s court costs and legal fees.

Check out the full report on this newly-proposed law at NBC4i.com.

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The More You Know: Nonprofit cautions about COVID-19 related scams

614now Staff

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In the day and age of digital connectivity, scams are becoming more and more an issue. Not only are they simply becoming more prevalent, they are becoming more difficult to recognize and track down. From email phishes to telemarketer robocalls, it seems they are coming in every direction.

And, unfortunately, not even social distancing can stop the scams from flowing in. However, The Senior Source, a nonprofit in Dallas, Texas, has released some helpful tips and information to being more aware of these scams, the tactics they might use, and even red flags to help identify the early signs of a scam.

Phone/In-Person Scams

Robocalls, provider scams, testing scams, and treatment scams are all potential forms the Senior Source warns folks to know about. Robocalls are when a company uses a machine to make calls, pose as the IRS or Medicare, and attempt to profit off fears of COVID-19. If you receive one of these calls and are unsure if it was truly the IRS or not, call the IRS customer service line at 1-800-829-1040,

Provider scams, writes Senior Source, are phone calls from fake doctors claiming to have provided medical assistance to a loved one or someone you know and then demand payment. One of the red flags to be aware of during these potential scams is urgency; such as trying to get you to make a payment right now.

Testing scams and treatment scams are similar, but with subtle differences. Testing scams have been reported to be people in lab coats going door-to-door, claiming to be a health care professional, and selling fake COVID-19 tests. Treatment scams falls in the same category, however, they are selling fake COVID-19-related treatments door-to-door. It's worth noting that the only current known treatment for COVID-19 is professional medical assistance from a licensed doctor working in a hospital. Additionally, if you are concerned about symptoms you might be showing, visit this site for more details and contact a medical professional.

Financial Scams

While most scams are considered financial scams, as the end goal is ultimately to take your money, Senior Source warns about four specifically during the outbreak: supply scams, charity scams, and romance scams.

Supply scams are people creating a fake website, company, or shop to sell high-demand items like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and face masks. Once a purchase is made, the Senior Source warns these companies might just pocket the money and provide nothing in return. These supply scams can also be found through social media and email.

Charity scams are a little more self-explanatory. Rather than setting up a fake business to sell items, these fake charities and nonprofits designed to collect donations for COVID-19. But, just like the supply scams, these fake charities and nonprofits will pocket the donations. A red flag to be aware of here is the notion that "everyone is doing it." If you are interested in helping out a nonprofit or charity in Columbus, check out the Point App where you can find volunteer opportunities, or donate to the nonprofit of your choice.

The final of the three, romance scams, is when a fake social media account is created to earn the trust, affection, and eventual funds of an unsuspecting person.

Malware Scams

Phishing scams and app scams are two different ways a scammer might be able to download malware onto devices which can be used to download personal information. Senior Source says to check sources to ensure the company or app is a reliable business.

Phishing scams can come in the form of emails posing to be health care professionals providing downloadable links and content. Senior Source writes that these phishes have come in many different forms such as posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

App scams, notes Senior Source, have come in the form of apps that track the spread of COVID-19. Again, it's recommended to check sources before downloading from an unknown providers.

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A brief guide to the $1,200 Coronavirus stimulus check

Mitch Hooper

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As Ohio enters into a new month of social distance and only essential businesses operating, some financial relief from the Coronavirus Stimulus Package could be arriving as early as next week.

To better understand the ins-and-outs of this stimulus package, we've pooled together this helpful guide from national publications. Read below to see who qualifies for what in the package, how much to expect, when to expect it, and what steps you need to take to make sure you receive your money.

Do I qualify for payment?

Per the Los Angeles Times, there are many variables to who qualifies for payments. The amount of your payment will depend on your income reported in 2018. Individuals who earn less than $75,000 a year can expect a $1,200 check while individuals earning $99,000 or more would receive no check. Individuals who fall in between these two totals will have their payment prorated based on their income.

That math breaks down to $50 less for every $1,000 earned over $75,000. So a person earning $80,000 would get a check of $950; a person earning $90,000 would get a check of $450; and a person earning $98,000 would get a check of $50.

— Matt Stieb, How and When Can Americans Access the $1,200 Coronavirus Stimulus Checks? for New York Magazine

Additionally, married folks who earn a combined total of less than $150,000 can expect a $2,400 check with an additional $500 per child younger than 17-years-old. If a parent were to file under "head of household," they would be eligible for the $1,200 check plus the additional $500 per child younger than 17 if they earn less than $112,500 per year. This head of household check is prorated up to individual folks who earn more than $136,500. However, married folks who earn a combined total of more than $198,000 would not be eligible for a stimulus check.

To see what your payment might look like, use this handy calculator created by researcher Jasmine Mah and mathematician Maciej Kowalski, as reported by Business Insider.

Other people who do not qualify for the check include adult dependents, college students, elderly or disabled folks, and children age 17 and 18, reports The Wall Street Journal.

How do I receive this?

The first step, according to New York Magazine, is having a social security number. If you have this, you don't need to apply. The only thing you need to ensure is that the IRS has your bank account on file in order to send you the payment through direct deposit. If you filed your taxes and elected to use direct deposit, this should already be set up. It's important to note that if your payments are sent through mail, it could take up to five months.

Additionally, if you are receiving veteran benefits or Supplemental Security income, you might need to file to receive your payment, per The Wall Street Journal.

Will I have to pay this back?

To put it bluntly, no. Per Business Insider, the stimulus check will be tax free to Americans.

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COVID-19 puts Columbus Arts Festival on hold until next year

Mitch Hooper

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Citing the COVID-19 outbreak, the Greater Columbus Arts council board has voted to cancel the 2020 Columbus Arts Festival, formerly scheduled for June 12-14.

"As much as we desperately want to go on as planned, we recognize that we must put the health and safety of our patrons, artists, performers, vendors and sponsors first," said Tom Katzenmeyer, President & CEO of GCAC, in a press release. "As we’ve watched the COVID-19 pandemic unfold, with all the uncertainty it holds for the near future, we could not in good conscience hold a festival that would bring artists and visitors from 38 states and four countries, and more than 500,000 people within close proximity to each other on the downtown riverfront."

In past press conferences, Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, has said that we could see the impacts of COVID-19 lasting into May with a gradual drop-off. Currently, Columbus has seen many events in May be canceled including Taco Fest and Six One Pour, both citing public health taking priority over the festivals.

This announcement comes as one of the first events in June to officially cancel due to the Coronavirus. Though it won't be taking place this year, Katzenmeyer remains hopeful for the future of Arts Fest.

"I will miss this energy. I will miss these people. I will miss being a part of this experience, and yes, I will miss fresh lemonade shake ups. But we made this decision to ensure that we all remain healthy and able to enjoy all these wonderful experiences at next year’s Arts Festival. And that is where I have my heart set."

In Central Ohio, June also plays host to the Memorial Tournament, the Pride Parade and Festival, and the Creekside Jazz and Blue Fest. 614Now will have more updates about upcoming events as they become available.

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