Ohio rape investigation grand jury resumes work
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An eastern Ohio grand jury is resuming its examination of whether other laws were broken in the case of a 16-year-old girl raped by two high school football players.
The panel in Steubenville was scheduled to start up Thursday after a three-week break while investigators went back to analyzing evidence and interviewing witnesses.
The grand jury had met just three days before the adjournment was announced earlier this month.
1 of the key issues before the panel is whether adults like coaches or school administrators knew of the rape allegation but failed to report it as required by Ohio law.
A judge in March convicted the football players of raping the girl in separate incidents after an alcohol-fueled party in August.
Ohio elections chief wrapping up 2012 fraud probe
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's elections chief says he's wrapped up a review by county election boards across the swing state into allegations of voter fraud during the 2012 presidential election.
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO'-sted) plans on Thursday to release the probe's findings after a statewide look he ordered in January. He required all testimony to be taken under oath and restricted sworn statements only to firsthand accounts, as a way of cutting down on the spread of rumors.
Husted hoped the forum would identify legitimate concerns and reassure the public about the integrity of elections.
Democrats criticize Husted for repeated violations of voters' rights.
Husted initially said the investigation would also include complaints of alleged voter suppression, but the announcement of Thursday's event made no mention of the issue.
INTERNET CAFE REGULATIONS
Internet cafe moratorium heads to Ohio governor
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A proposal to extend Ohio's moratorium on new storefront sweepstakes parlors and to impose a new reporting requirement is nearly law.
The Ohio House approved the measure 76-14 on Wednesday and Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) is expected to sign it.
The bill was championed by Republican Senate President Keith Faber (FAY'-bur) after top state law enforcers raised legal concerns about the so-called Internet cafes.
The Senate also approved an effective statewide ban on such businesses on Wednesday.
Legislative efforts follow lawsuits and raids in Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) and Richland counties by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who says the operations harbor illegal gambling.
Defenders say the parlors are legal and shutting them down will cost thousands of Ohio jobs.
The state's current moratorium expires in June.
Ohio bill would extend Medicaid, add cost sharing
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A Republican state lawmaker is proposing to link Medicaid expansion in Ohio to job training that could ultimately reduce the need for participation in the program.
A bill introduced Wednesday by state Rep. Barbara Sears, a suburban Toledo Republican, would mean roughly 366,000 Ohioans would be newly eligible for the state-federal Medicaid program.
Unlike an earlier version of Medicaid expansion promoted by Gov. John Kasich, Sears' proposal would connect new Medicaid enrollees to state job training services in the hopes of reducing the need for the coverage in the future.
New enrollees are fully funded for the first three years by the federal government under Democratic President Barack Obama's health care law.
Republican lawmakers scrapped Kasich's plan. Sears says leaders were involved in the process and aware of the bill.
OHIO LEGISLATURE-DISPUTED ELECTION
Ohio House upholds GOP rep's win in disputed race
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Republican-controlled Ohio House has voted to uphold a GOP candidate's victory last year in a disputed race for state representative.
State law gives the House the right to judge the election of its own members.
Democrat Josh O'Farrell lost his bid to unseat Republican Rep. Al Landis by eight votes in November. The district covers Tuscarawas (tus-kuh-RAW'-uhs) and part of Holmes counties.
The House voted 58-32 on Wednesday to let Landis' win stand.
The race's outcome determined whether Republicans have a 60-vote majority in the House. That majority allows Republicans to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot or override a governor's veto without a Democratic vote.
Democrats have argued there were multiple election irregularities involving provisional and absentee ballots that could have changed the race's outcome.
SHOT ON BUS
Man indicted in shooting of woman on Columbus bus
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A prosecutor says a man accused of firing a shot that struck a woman on a Columbus bus has been indicted on 12 counts of felonious assault.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien says a grand jury on Wednesday indicted 19-year-old Anthony Saunders III of Columbus in the April 16 shooting.
O'Brien says Saunders allegedly was shooting at a car just as the bus pulled up to drop off a passenger. The prosecutor says a bus passenger hit in the head by a bullet was taken to a Columbus hospital.
Court records did not indicate if Saunders has an attorney.
The prosecutor says Saunders could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted.
BRIDGE BOMB PLOT
Ohio bomb suspect allowed to represent himself
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A federal judge will allow the last of 5 bridge bomb-plotting suspects in northeast Ohio to represent himself at trial.
Federal Judge David Dowd in Akron ruled Wednesday there's no reason to deny the request by 23-year-old Joshua Stafford of Cleveland, whose trial is scheduled June 10.
Last month the judge ruled Stafford mentally fit for trial after hearing from psychologists who said Stafford is suicidal, depressed and wary of a dangerous world.
No bomb went off and no one was injured in the plot last year in which the intended target was a highway bridge over the Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron.
The other four defendants have pleaded guilty and landed prison terms of 6 to 11 years.
Ohio injection well operator fights state action
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A northeast Ohio injection-well operator whose former officer faces federal charges of violating the Clean Water Act is seeking permission to resume operations.
An attorney for D&L Energy, of Youngstown, told the Ohio Oil & Gas Commission Wednesday that Ben Lupo was acting on behalf of another company when he committed the acts for which he's been federally indicted, and D&L should not be punished.
Lupo has pleaded not guilty to ordering the repeated dumping of gas-drilling wastewater into a storm sewer. He was working at the time for Hardrock Excavating LLC, which contracted with D&L as a brine hauler.
Brian Ball, the state's lawyer, described Lupo as "the heart and soul" of a group of companies operating from the same address that were interrelated and jointly liable.
Cleveland fair-housing advocate facing tax counts
CLEVELAND (AP) - A fair-housing advocate in Cleveland has been charged with tax fraud for allegedly trying to avoid taxes on $500,000 in income and keeping $80,000 in federal taxes withheld from employees.
U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach (DEHT'-ehl-bahk) said 62-year-old Edward Kramer was charged Wednesday with 10 counts in a court filing which usually signals a pending plea deal.
Kramer directs Housing Advocates Inc., a non-profit that fights housing discrimination.
The government alleges Kramer underreported income in 2007 and 2008, failed to file returns for 2009 and 2010 and kept employee tax withholdings over a 21-month period in 2009 and 2010.
Defense attorney Patrick McLaughlin wouldn't comment on the charges or a possible plea deal. He says Kramer has spent a career fighting housing discrimination, regrets his current situation and will take responsibility.
TEEN'S 1984 DEATH-CHARGE
Man indicted in 1984 slaying of Cleveland girl
CLEVELAND (AP) - A grand jury has returned a murder indictment against a Cleveland man in the 1984 killing of a 14-year-old girl.
Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said Wednesday that a Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County grand jury indicted 58-year-old Hernandez Warren on murder, rape, kidnapping and aggravated robbery charges.
His arraignment is scheduled for May 28.
Attorney Nicole Longino, who represented Warren in court last week, said she would not comment on the charges.
Investigators say DNA evidence recently developed linked Warren to the killing of Gloria Pointer, who went missing while walking to school nearly 30 years ago.
The prosecutor says Warren lived in the same neighborhood as the girl.
3rd-grade Ohio reading teacher pool approved
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A bill making more teachers temporarily eligible to participate in meeting Ohio's new third-grade reading guarantee is on its way to Ohio's governor.
The Senate agreed unanimously Wednesday to revised teacher eligibility guidelines and other changes adopted by the House to address an anticipated shortage.
The state program requires that students be proficient in reading before leaving third grade.
The bill scraps required completion of a "scientifically research-based reading instruction program," allowing certain highly-rated teachers with strong track records in reading to qualify. Those holding alternative credentials and not serving as a student's "teacher of record" are also freed to help.
Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) is expected to sign the bill. An emergency clause would make it effective in time for lining up next school year's teachers.
OH inmate captured after walking away from garage
LEBANON, Ohio (AP) - The state prisons department says an inmate has been captured after walking away from his work assignment as an auto mechanic at a southwest Ohio prison.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says Stephen Ramey was taken into custody about 7:30 Tuesday night. Authorities had said he was last seen at the garage of the Lebanon Correctional Institution shortly before noon Tuesday.
The garage, where state vehicles are repaired, is outside the prison's security perimeter in a minimum-security camp. State prison officials say 35-year-old Ramey was taken into custody about three miles from the garage.
The state says Ramey was admitted to prison in March on a 1-year sentence for a burglary conviction out of Montgomery County and was scheduled for release in January.
Military gets free admission to OH amusement park
MASON, Ohio (AP) - Current and former members of the U.S. military will get free admission to Kings Island amusement park in southwest Ohio over Memorial Day weekend.
The park says a valid military ID must be presented at the Kings Island ticket window to take advantage of the free admission offer which runs Friday through Monday.
The offer also allows military personnel to purchase up to six discount admission tickets for immediate family members.
Military personnel qualifying for the offer include active and retired members of the military, veterans with honorable or medical discharges and National Guard and the Reserve Officers' Training Corps members.
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