Top Ohio headlines
Christmas might come early for central Ohioans traveling for the holidays, given low gas prices and predictions of mild weather. The AAA Auto Club is predicting the highest travel volume on record for Dec. 23 to Jan. 4. Nationwide, 98.6 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home. That includes 3.8 million Ohioans, a 5 percent increase over the same period last holiday season.
CLEVELAND — A Muslim woman has sued Cuyahoga County in northeast Ohio alleging she was forced to attend Christian church services during a 60-day jail stint on an assault charge.
Researchers at the state’s six children’s hospitals will spend the next three years studying how often medical providers overlook minor injuries to babies that often are signs of child abuse. Nationwide Children’s Hospital will lead the project, which is being funded by a $1 million grant from the Ohio attorney general’s lawsuit settlement funds.
During a speech in front of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Gov. John Kasich promised to crack down on charter school operators who are not doing their job of educating children, Dispatch Public Affairs Editor Darrel Rowland writes. “We are going to fix the lack of regulation on charter schools,” he said. “There is no excuse for people coming in here and taking advantage of anything. So we will be putting some tough rules into our budget.”
A man admitted yesterday that he killed and mutilated a dog in Newark on Wednesday. Harley J. Paynter, 19, of 435 Ballard Ave., pleaded guilty in Licking County Municipal Court yesterday to the animal-cruelty charge along with additional charges of drug abuse and underage alcohol consumption.
A London Correctional Institution inmate who escaped 22 years ago has been caught in Indiana and will return to complete at least five years of his sentence for grand theft, the State Highway Patrol announced yesterday. Investigators learned on Dec. 12 that Roger D. Perdue, 71, was living with a woman, possibly his wife, and preparing to leave their home in Kokomo, Ind., where he had been living under an assumed identity.
The Ohio Department of Transportation’s plan to fix interchanges along the northern section of I-270 should finish earlier than expected. The Transportation Review Advisory Council, which sets priorities for high-priced transportation projects, yesterday moved the start of construction on the final phase of the “North Side Fix” up from 2024 to next year.
The Festival of Lights joined Wildlights last night at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
The Olentangy school district will pay substitute teachers and tutors more in 2015 to help the district stay competitive with nearby school systems, officials said.
Ohioans could be voting on a marijuana ballot issue next year unlike any in the country, involving 10 wealthy individuals who would essentially invest to obtain the right to grow and sell marijuana wholesale for personal use by residents 21 or older. Marijuana would be taxed, with the proceeds somehow distributed to government entities.
At the new Honda museum, a supercar is to your right and robots seem to be around every corner. And, just when you might think this is too exotic, there is a minivan. The automaker gave a preview yesterday of the Honda Heritage Center in Marysville, a museum that will open to the public on Jan. 5.
A Dayton contractor who also did work in central Ohio is being sued by the state for doing what it is calling shoddy work and failure to complete projects after accepting payment.
Gov. John Kasich pledged yesterday to crack down on shady Ohio charter-school operators in his upcoming budget proposal. In a year-end speech to the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the governor also threw out broad hints of possible tax changes, called for greater regulation on fracking wellheads and defended religious involvement in a new state-funded program with public schools.
A group including police officers, ministers, a prosecutor and a probation officer began dissecting how the state trains its police officers yesterday after a controversial series of killings by police in Ohio and elsewhere. Its mission: Recommend better ways of training police officers to assess shoot-or-don’t-shoot situations, to deal with the mentally ill and to improve police-community relations.
Ohio is among the worst-prepared states for tackling infectious diseases ranging from flu to Ebola, according to a national report released this morning. Two nonprofit groups — Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — judged states’ abilities to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks based on 10 measures. Ohio met three, putting it in the company of six other states and just one point above the worst state, Arkansas. The states that fared best in the report earned eight points.
NEWARK, Ohio — A man was sentenced yesterday in Licking County to four years in prison for the death of a 2-year-old girl. Daniel D. Hall Jr., 25, was arrested for the October 2013 death of 2-year-old Jocelyn Runyons, the daughter of his girlfriend at the time who was in his care in Utica.
In a ruling that seemingly matters little, the Ohio Supreme Court yesterday upheld the home-rule rights of Columbus and other cities to handle traffic-camera tickets as in-house civil matters. In a 4-3 vote, the justices overturned an appeals court finding that red-light and speed-camera tickets robbed courts of their jurisdiction and deprived cited motorists of their due-process rights in court.
Ohio voters are the next to decided if they approve of a legislative redistricting plan negotiated by Ohio lawmakers. The House approved the bill reform yesterday after the Senate voted at 4 a.m. Friday following hours of negotiating to find a compromise. “It will be a clearer process and more fair to the general public,” said Rep. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, the House GOP point person on redistricting.
Children watch as a scuba-diving Santa Claus feeds the fish at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Santa gets a break from his regular Christmas duties to dive at the zoo every night at 6.
Ohio’s single execution this year was the state’s lowest number in 13 years, and the 35 executions in the U.S. were the fewest in two decades, according to the annual report by the Death Penalty Information Center. New death-penalty sentences hit a 40-year low of 72, the report showed. The center also noted that there were seven exonerations this year clearing men who had been on Death Row.
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of a party that preceded the rape of a girl by two high-school football players pleaded guilty yesterday to four counts of violating probation, a spokesman for the state attorney general said. Matt Belardine admitted leaving the state without permission and going to a bar, consuming alcohol and being arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct in Arizona, attorney general spokesman Dan Tierney said.
The Ohio House said goodbye yesterday to Speaker William G. Batchelder, a conservative stalwart and legislative icon. With tears in his eyes, Batchelder stepped down from the dais one last time into the arms of his wife, surrounded by thunderous applause.
WASHINGTON — A provision aimed at extending a tax credit that helped Delphi retirees pay for health coverage was left out of the final version of a tax-extender bill that the Senate passed late Tuesday — a blow to Delphi retirees who have been struggling after their pensions were cut during the 2008-09 auto bailout.
A pedestrian was killed early yesterday when he was struck by a car as he attempted to cross Rt. 23 near Circleville. The Pickaway County sheriff’s office reports that Evan M. Palmer, 21, of Circleville, was crossing Rt. 23 on foot from east to west on his way to work when he was hit at 5:36 a.m., while it was still dark.
A bill that would legalize the use of fireworks in Ohio fizzled in the House yesterday, and a procedural error in committee was to blame. The bill would have ended one of the state’s most-violated laws — where people are allowed to purchase fireworks in Ohio, but only if they agree to transport them out of state within 48 hours.
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