Top Ohio headlines
CLEVELAND — Three men imprisoned for nearly 20 years after a jury convicted them of murder in 1996 should have a new trial because a prosecutor suppressed evidence that calls into question the men’s guilt, a judge ruled yesterday.
Ohio should add programming for “forgotten” youth offenders and use juvenile prisons as a last resort, not treatment options, the Ohio Juvenile Justice Alliance said on Wednesday in an overview of the state juvenile-justice system.
Independent investigations of officers’ use of deadly force and improved screening and training for police emerge as common themes in recommendations from members of Ohio’s Task Force on Community-Police Relations.
Ohio programs for the developmentally disabled rely too much on institutional care and sheltered workshops and need “massive changes” to repair inequities, a report by the Center for Community Solutions concludes.
Professor Linda Mercadante of Methodist Theological School in Ohio was interviewed this week for NBC’s Today show.
Three more victims have come forward, alleging that a former Olentangy schools teacher sexually abused them in their second and third-grade classrooms. Matthew D. Rausenberg’s sexual assaults could have occurred as recently as this month in his Arrowhead Elementary School’s classroom, two of the victims told authorities.
Tens of thousands of small-business owners will have to wait at least a few more weeks before collecting their share of a $420 million settlement from a lawsuit over workers’ compensation premiums.
Attention on overhauling Ohio’s oft-criticized charter-school laws now turns to the Senate, where Democrats, state Auditor Dave Yost and charter supporters hope to see additions made to a bill that the House passed on Thursday with broad support. House Bill 2 includes roughly three dozen changes aimed at transparency, accountability and oversight of charter schools that are spending upward of $1 billion a year in state taxpayer money to educate 100,000-plus students.
Columbus police said on Thursday that a body found in a ditch off I-71 on Wednesday is not being investigated as a homicide. Delaware County Coroner Mark Hickman said the body of Oscar Gonzalez, 22, of Columbus, showed no signs of trauma or foul play.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich got a rocky reception from leading conservative economists and media representatives in a New York City gathering, with one questioning whether Kasich thinks opponents of Medicaid expansion “are going to hell.” Kasich’s frequent use of the Bible to justify the expansion — made possible by Obamacare — didn’t sit well with many at the exclusive gathering in the tony Four Seasons restaurant on Wednesday night, especially Avik Roy, Manhattan Institute senior fellow and a Forbes opinion editor.
Responding to a hornet’s nest of public criticism, state officials are reassuring people with developmental disabilities and others that they will still be able to choose the specific caregivers who see to their most basic needs at home. Members of the public concerned about the potential loss of choice turned out in droves in recent weeks to testify before legislators. They felt blindsided after Gov. Kasich’s administration tucked into last month’s budget bill a proposal to phase out potentially thousands of independent providers, citing concerns about fraud. Angry calls, hundreds of emails and more than 60 hours of testimony ensued.
CINCINNATI — A 29-year veteran firefighter died “a hero” Thursday from injuries he suffered while searching for people to rescue from a burning Cincinnati apartment building, authorities said. Daryl Gordon, 54, was removed from the building by stretcher after falling down an elevator shaft and died at a hospital, officials said.
CINCINNATI — A woman accused of decapitating her 3-month-old daughter pleaded not guilty today to a charge of aggravated murder. Deasia Watkins, 20, was arraigned on the charge in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, a court official said.
It was an emotional day at the Statehouse yesterday as lawmakers debated the heartbeat abortion bill for the third time on the Ohio House floor. The bill, which bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, will get hearings in the Senate but leadership there doesn’t seem to support it and neither does Gov. John Kasich. Some have questioned the constitutionality of the proposal and fear if it is challenged in court, other abortion restrictions could be stripped away.
The collective health of Franklin County’s residents lags that of folks who live in Delaware County, which today reclaimed its position as the state’s healthiest in the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation’s annual county-by-county rankings. Delaware County has held the top spot for four of the past six years. But the rankings show that Franklin County has moved steadily up through the rankings in recent years and now ranks 52nd among Ohio’s 88 counties. In 2010, it ranked 64th.
CLEVELAND (AP) — A Cleveland police sergeant shot a man in the arm as he lay on the ground trying to surrender, a lawsuit filed yesterday alleges.
A Columbus woman was charged yesterday with aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with a wrong-way crash on I-70 that killed a woman in Madison County this week. Mattison Skoog, 24, of Santa Clara street on the East Side, was in Madison County Municipal Court yesterday, where Magistrate David Owens set a bond of $500,000, citing the seriousness of the offense.
The Ohio House today approved legislation to outlaw abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, but the bill’s chances of becoming law appear dim. The so-called heartbeat bill faces opposition in the Senate and from Gov. John Kasich who, along with critics on both sides of the abortion debate, believe such a ban would be found unconstitutional.
NEW YORK — Some of the most familiar names in ketchup, pickles, cheese and hot dogs are set to come under the same roof after H.J. Heinz Co. announced yesterday that it plans to buy Kraft, creating one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies. The pairing is likely to result in job losses, observers say, something that could affect employees in Ohio. Both companies have significant operations in the state.
Low oil prices are leading to the layoffs of at least 200 workers at Siemens Energy in Mount Vernon, the most recent in a series of businesses hurt by swooning energy markets. The plant has about 900 employees, and 200 to 240 of them will lose their jobs over the next few months.
A bill to extend the 20-year statute of limitations for prosecuting rapists who are identified through DNA matches passed the Ohio Senate by a 32-1 vote this afternoon. The legislation to provide an extra five years to file charges in rape and sexual battery cases earlier was recommended for passage by a 10-1 vote of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.
Seventy-two people have been indicted with felony counts in connection with a heroin and cocaine trafficking ring that delivered drugs like pizzas to homes in Pickaway County, state and local authorities announced on Wednesday. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s heroin unit worked for eight months with the Circleville Police Department and the Pickaway County Sheriff’s office to get the indictments.
Now that a bill aimed at reducing toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie is headed to Gov. John Kasich for his signature, supporters say the focus should turn to funding in the new state budget, and a separate bill dealing with an algae early warning system. The House and Senate today gave final passage to Senate Bill 1, which prohibits farmers in northwest Ohio from spreading manure on frozen or saturated fields.
He sounded like a presidential candidate and those listening seemed to like him. That’s the report from Dispatch Public Affairs Editor Darrel Rowland who is with Republican Gov. John Kasich in New Hampshire, the first primary state. For those new here, Kasich is thinking about entering the crowded Republican 2016 presidential field.
Ohio University is renting a 4,600-square-foot house for President Roderick J. McDavis for two years — and it can buy the house for $1.2 million — while his campus house is renovated. A bat infestation drove McDavis and his wife, Deborah, from the historic president’s residence, built in 1899.
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