Good morning. Here's a roundup of London 2012 Olympics news stories that have caught our interest. We also have a highlight list of today's upcoming events, in a different post. You can also check out our main schedule. Here's what's been happening already today:
Former Ambassador Ryan Crocker speaks with Renee Montagne
The rising hopes but still-daunting challenges facing the people of Afghanistan and their allies, most notably the U.S., were underscored again this morning by two new stories:
-- The recently departed U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, told Morning Edition host Renee Montagne that he does not think Afghans will suffer through another devasting, multi-party civil war after U.S. combat forces are gone in 2014.
The U.S. House is scheduled to vote this week on a Senate-passed measure extending the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning less than 200-thousand dollars a year or couples making less than 250-thousand a year, while slightly increasing the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will be in Dayton and Springfield today for a pair of campaign events for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio will be at a Romney rally in Lancaster today. And President Obama is scheduled to visit Ohio later this week. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.
A coalition pushing changes to the way Ohio draws legislative and congressional districts expects to have more than enough petition signatures to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for the November ballot. Voters First Ohio says it has collected more than 700-thousand signatures. Secretary of State Jon Husted ruled the group's previous submission was more than 130-thousand shy of the roughly 385-thousand signatures needed. The proposal aims to take away map-drawing powers from elected officials and put them in the hands of a 12-person citizen commission.
Kings Island amusement park is removing a wooden roller coaster plagued by problems since opening 12 years ago. Kings Island will begin dismantling the coaster this summer to make room for future expansion. A park statement does not say what will replace it. The ride was billed as the world's tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster when it opened. The track rose to a 218-foot peak with trains reaching speeds of 78 mph. It closed for nearly a year for reconstruction after more than two dozen people were injured in a 2006 accident.
There's no word yet on when East State Street will reopen, after falling bricks and other debris forced its closure. Columbus firefighters say East State between Sixth Street and Grant Avenue was shut down yesterday after the roof of the former Salesian Boys and Girls Club collapsed. The cause has yet to be determined. No injuries are reported.
Columbus Police say one man was killed and three others wounded in a suspected drug-related robbery Sunday in South Linden. Police say 25-year-old Albert Thompson III was shot and killed at a home in the 1-thousand block of East 17th Avenue. 21-year-old Juanricus Kibby, 25-year-old Miquel William and 28-year-old Keith Paxton are being treated at local hospitals. No arrests have been made.