DeWine wants Steubenville trials closed to the public
Ohio's attorney general says the trial of two Steubenville high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl should be closed to protect the victim. Mike DeWine says it will be hard enough for the girl to testify without having to do so in front of the whole world. DeWine also said Wednesday he's not concerned with publicity over the Internet or social media tainting the case because it's being heard by a judge, not a jury. DeWine says he has met with the West Virginia girl who was allegedly attacked and says she's doing OK. A judge holds a hearing Friday in to hear requests from defense attorneys to delay the case, move it and close it to the public.
Ohio debt ceiling votes mostly along party lines
Ohio lawmakers’ votes fell mostly along party lines on the debt ceiling extension passed by Congress Wednesday. GOP Rep. Mike Turner of Centerville was the lone Republican to join Ohio Democrats in voting no. Turner tells the Columbus Dispatch he thinks the extension sets the stage for mandatory spending cuts for the military, including at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base which is in his district. The bill also forces the Senate to pass a budget by April 15th or members of Congress will have their pay delayed. Republican Sen. Rob Portman supports that idea while Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown thinks it should be extended to the Farm Bill and other stalled legislation.
Akron man arrested, charged with shooting 4 year old son
Police say they have arrested an Akron man on charges including involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of his 4-year-old son. A police statement said 48-year-old Terrance Allen flagged down a Summit County deputy Wednesday morning, and the deputy found the boy in a car with a gunshot wound to his head. The child died at Akron Children's Hospital. Police say they recovered a handgun from the car.
Dayton approves Racino plans; Thistledown Racino shows off improvements
Dayton city officials have approved development plans for a $125 million racino on the former site of an automotive plant. Construction is expected to begin this spring on the harness-racing track, which will include 1,500 video slot machines. It's being built on the site of a razed Delphi plant and is expected to open in mid-2014. Meanwhile on Wednesday, Thistledown horse track in North Randal gave a preview of its planned racino set to open in April with more than 1,000 video slot machines. Another racino is in the planning stages for Austintown near Younsgtown, aiming for a 2014 opening.
Budget woes lead to cuts at Wright-Patterson
Budget uncertainties and a projected $1.8 billion funding shortfall are prompting immediate spending cuts at Wright-Patterson Air Force base near Dayton. The cuts include a temporary civilian hiring freeze and the firing of temporary employees except for critical activities. Noncritical travel and flying such as air shows will be curtailed. Officials say more reductions are possible if Congress and President Barack Obama fail to stop nearly $500 billion in automatic budget cuts set to begin in March.
Judith French sworn into Supreme Court
An appellate judge appointed to fill a vacancy on the Ohio Supreme Court has been honored at a public swearing-in ceremony. Gov. John Kasich appointed Judith French to serve the final two years of Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton's term when she retired at the end of last year. French had served on the 10th District Court of Appeals since 2004. Before that, she was chief legal counsel to former Gov. Bob Taft. She joins two other new faces on the court. Republican Sharon Kennedy and Democrat William O'Neill unseated two justices in the November election.
Supreme Court to hear JobsOhio challenge
The Ohio Supreme Court will take up a key legal question regarding JobsOhio. That’s the non-profit, private job creation corporation created by Governor Kasich. So far, lower courts have rejected legal challenges brought by liberal policy group Progress Ohio over who has standing to sue JobsOhio. The group is planning to sell 1.5-million dollars in bonds this month. ProgressOhio’s Brian Rothenberg says he hopes the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case will be a warning to investors.
Former AG Dann’s appeal denied by Supreme Court
The Ohio Supreme Court has refused to hear former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann’s appeal on his ethics violation conviction. The Ohio Elections Commission ruled in 2009 that Dann used $40,000 in campaign money for a security system and other improvements at his Youngstown-area home. Dann was fined, and had his law license suspended for six months, which begin this past November. Two lower courts both rejected appeals last year.
Former treasurer Boyce lands key financial committee spot
Ohio's former treasurer has landed a key position overseeing proposed financial legislation in the Ohio House. Columbus Democrat Kevin Boyce will serve as ranking Democrat on the House Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development Committee for the two-year session. Boyce lost his state office to Republican Josh Mandel in 2010. Last year, Boyce was appointed to fill a House vacancy created after ex-state Rep. Carlton Weddington of Columbus resigned amid a bribery investigation. Weddington has since gone to prison. Boyce was retained this fall.
Kasich: Board of Ed president shouldn’t be fired over Hitler post
Gov. John Kasich says the president of Ohio's education board shouldn't lose her job over an anti-gun-control Facebook post that included a photo of Adolf Hitler. Kasich told The Columbus Dispatch that Debe Terhar has admitted the mistake, so no further action is necessary. Kasich spoke after arriving Wednesday in Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum. Terhar said she regrets sharing the photo on the mostly private Facebook page, along with a message criticizing President Barack Obama's new gun-control efforts. She said her aim was to encourage historical reflection, not to compare Obama to the Nazi leader.
$2 million settlement in Cincinnati stun gun death
The family of an Ohio teen who was shocked with a stun gun and died has reached a $2 million settlement in a lawsuit against the University of Cincinnati. Everette Howard Jr.'s family sued the school and a university police officer, alleging the stun gun shock led to Howard's August death. The university must notify the public and Howard's family before resuming stun-gun use and pay tuition for Howard's two siblings. The officer said he used the stun gun because Howard wouldn't stop approaching him. A prosecutor found the officer did nothing wrong.
Stark County man challenges fine payment to Sandy Hook victims
A taxpayer is challenging a Stark County judge's decision that Newtown, Conn., should get a $5,000 fine paid by a former basketball coach who videotaped boys in a locker room shower. In Thomas Marcelli’s filed court challenge, he argues that fines should go to the county under Ohio law. A judge sentenced former Jackson coach Scott Studer to 15 years in prison and ordered him to send his fine to aid victims of the mass school shooting.