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The escalating heroin problem in Ohio was the topic of a roundtable discussion in Columbus on Wednesday. The gathering hosted by US Senator Rob Portman involved community leaders, school officials, students and others working on the front lines in the battle against the problem that’s reached epidemic proportions. The topics: Heroin abuse, and prevention, treatment and recovery from the drug.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says indecision by Congress about how to pay for programs is again threatening to delay or shut down road and transit projects across the country, resulting in widespread layoffs of construction workers and delay needed repairs and improvements. Foxx kicked-off an eight-state bus trip in Ohio this week to gain public support to keep Federal transportation aid flowing to states, and says Congress will have to act fast. The Highway Trust Fund — source of much of the aid — is forecast to essentially run dry sometime before the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30 — possibly as early as July.
The suspect in the slayings of a Cincinnati woman and her daughter was convicted this week and sentenced to the maximum 33 years to life in prison for the crimes. A jury convicted 37-year-old Brian Everett on charges of murder and tampering with evidence in the May 2012 murders of Nicole Smith and her 12-year-old daughter Stephanie. The jury agreed with prosecutors’ contention that Everett killed the woman when she rejected his advances, then killed her daughter when she tried to intervene.
A Federal judge in Cincinnati on Wednesday issued a stay on his controversial ruling on Ohio’s gay marriage law. Lawyers for the state argued on Tuesday that Judge Timothy Black’s ruling earlier this week represents a “momentous change” to Ohio’s ban on gay marriage that could be over-turned in the appeals court. Attorneys arguing on behalf of the lawsuit against Ohio’s law say an appeal would fail and there’s no reason to delay the judge’s ruling from earlier this week. Black said his stay order does not apply to the lawsuit filed by four gay couples who challenged Ohio's marriage law, ordering the state to immediately recognize both spouses in each relationship as parents on their children's birth certificates.
A group advocating the separation of church and state is protesting a pair of crosses displayed for Easter at an eastern Ohio village's municipal building. The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is challenging the claim by the mayor of Stratton that it's constitutional to display the crosses during holidays. It's not the first debate over religious freedom in the village. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Watchtower Society in a suit challenging a Stratton ordinance that imposed registration requirements and penalties on house-to-house solicitation. Justices ruled the law violated the First Amendment.
Negative campaigning and mudslinging may be a fact of life in American politics, but can false accusations made in the heat of an election be punished as a crime? That debate makes its way to the Supreme Court next week as the justices consider a challenge to an Ohio law that bars false statements about political candidates during a campaign. The case has attracted national attention, with groups across the political spectrum criticizing the law as a restriction of the First Amendment right to free speech. The high court is not expected to rule directly on the constitutional issue but will focus on whether the law can be challenged before it is actually enforced.
Central Ohio officials are warning that children without mumps vaccinations might have to miss weeks of school if an outbreak of the illness hits classrooms. More than 200 cases of the contagious viral illness, with more than 130 of those linked to Ohio State University, have been reported this year. The health commissioners for Columbus and New Franklin County wrote letters to schools encouraging vaccinations. The letters also advise parents that unvaccinated students might have to stay home 25 days or longer if clusters of mumps cases begin showing up in schools.
A Ravenna Township couple face charges that they made methamphetamine in their home and in the presence of a juvenile. 27 year-old Jack Lenigar and 31 year-old Tanya Lenigar, of Summit Road, were arrested by Portage County Drug Task Force agents on charges of illegal manufacture of drugs and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs. The charges are more serious because the alleged incidents occurred in the presence of a juvenile. Additional charges are pending.
Firefighters battled a in a vacant Akron home around 1:15 this morning. The home at 1089 Laurel Avenue on the city's southwest side....No injuries were reported and a cause and damage estimate has not been given.
A judge has set sentencing dates for later this year, for six doctors and the owner of three pain management clinics where they worked, all of whom previously pleaded guilty to charges related to the clinics' operations. Indictments in 2012 and last year alleged dozens of customers a week would travel hundreds of miles to visit clinics in Ohio and pay $200 per visit for painkillers. The indictments said prescriptions were written without meaningful physical exams and contributed to the deaths of at least two patients.
The U.S. Supreme Court next week will take up a challenge of an Ohio law barring false statements about political candidates during a campaign. The high court likely won't rule directly on the constitutional issue but will focus on whether the law can be challenged before it is actually enforced.
A former Akron man, who was convicted with two other men in the 1986 death of 22 year-old Susan Soldierson, of Stow will spend at least another three years in prison. The Record-COurier reports, the Ohio Parole Board recently denied parole to 51-year-old Victor Logan. He will next be eligible for parole in 2017. Logan was convicted in November 1986 and sentenced to 30-to-75 years in prison. Logan, along with former Akron residents, 45 year-old Marcazuan Lockett and 44 year-old Albert Young, were convicted of involuntary manslaughter , kidnapping and aggravated robbery in Soldierson's death. In 1986, Soldierson was crossing the parking lot at Stonehedge bowling center, when she was attacked. While trying to take her purse, they dragged her into the car. When the car drove away, Soldierson fell out and struck her head on the pavement. She died at Akron City Hospital two days later.
A Kent school board member has announced she's stepping down due to health issues and on the advice of her physician. After 23 years of service, Janet Rusnack, notified the board of her decision. Rusnack is the second veteran school official to announce a departure from the Kent school district in the last few weeks. Superintendent Joe Giancola announced his plans to retire at the end of the school year. He spent 21 years with the district. A search for a new superintendent is under way.
An agency that coordinates the filing of municipal taxes around Ohio has extended the deadline to file until Monday after unprecedented demand. The Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) in Brecksville said its website and phone system were overwhelmed with hits and calls from last-minute filers. Steven Pressley, treasurer of the tax agency's board, says the problem is so many people waited until the last minute to file.
GOP staff or members of a selection committee will visit two Ohio cities later this month that are still in contention to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Teams will visit Cincinnati on April 29th and Cleveland the following day for a more in-depth look at factors including financing, convention venues, media workplace and hotels.