WCBE

Associated Press

Prosecutors in Pataskala say a local woman will not be charged for a cougar attack that left a Licking County caseworker missing part of her finger. Evelyn Shaw's cougar bit 51-year-old caseworker Cindy Robson in late June as she was evaluating the home for Shaw's two nieces. The animal remains at Shaw's home. Police say it appears Shaw did not act illegally and new state exotic animal regulations take effect in the fall. 

A new report by Common Cause, the Rutgers Law School and the Verified Voting Foundation shows Ohio and 23 other states are using voting systems for overseas and military voters that could be vulnerable to hackers. Those states let overseas voters return their ballots using the Internet, email or fax, which could fall victim to cyberattacks. The report also shows that polling places in Ohio and 15 other states use paperless machines, so there's no paper record in case of a recount. 

State schools superintendent Stan Heffner says the investigation of student attendance data fixing in the Columbus and Toledo districts could lead to fraud charges against educators involved. Heffner says the data questions and a focus on improving student test scores have created an overemphasis on state report cards for districts. Meanwhile the Ohio Department of Education says the Lockland school district filed false attendance data for 36 students during the 2010-2011 school year in an effort to improve its state report card.

The mother of an unarmed African-American teen shot and killed by a white neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida says she is mentally prepared to handle whatever verdict or sentence is handed down.  Sybrina Fulton made the statement to reporters Wednesday after she and the teen's father, Tracy Martin, addressed a town hall meeting on violence and racial healing in Cincinnati. The February shooting of their son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, led to nationwide protests over race and self-defense laws after police failed to arrest shooter George Zimmerman for more than a month. 

The Ohio Supreme Court won't reconsider its ruling declaring Ohio's smoking ban constitutional. The high court today denied a request by a Columbus tavern owner to revisit the May decision on the ban.

One of five men charged with plotting to bomb a highway bridge in Ohio has pleaded guilty and will testify against his co-defendants. The plea by 35-year-old Anthony Hayne came today in federal court in Akron.

The first of eight courts-martial against the U.S. soldiers charged with the racial hazing that led to the suicide of a fellow recruit in Afghanistan began today. U.S. Army Sergeant Adam Holcomb of Youngstown is one of the eight soldiers charged in the death of 19-year-old Private Danny Chen of New York City. The Pentagon says Chen shot himself last year after weeks of physical and emotional taunting that was based on his Chinese-American ethnicity. Holcomb faces nearly 18 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Manhattan City Council Member Margaret Chin is hoping for justice.

A federal judge has ruled there is insufficient reason to move the trial of five men charged with plotting to bomb a bridge over the Cuayhoga Valley National Park. The judge delayed issuing a final ruling Monday, saying it's possible evidence of bias will emerge during jury selection. The suspects have pleaded not guilty and are to be tried in September. They allegedly were working with an FBI informant who provided a what turned out to be a dud explosive.

Ohio republican Congressman Jim Renacci (reh-NAY'-see) has returned 100-thousand dollars in campaign contributions amid an FBI inquiry into their source. The FBI has previously questioned employees of Canton-based Suarez Industries about combined donations to Renacci and republican State Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel, who returned 105-thousand dollars in contributions in May. The FBI was seeking donor records for retail marketing executive Benjamin Suarez, his family members and employees of either the congressman or Mandel. 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says hundreds of pounds of prescription drugs  were collected over the weekend in Scioto County, an area hit hard by drug overdose deaths. Collection sites at grocery stores in Portsmouth and Wheelersburg gathered a total of 318 pounds of prescription drugs from residents for disposal.  Dozens of county residents have died over the past decade from overdoses attributed to painkillers and many more have been treated for addiction.  

The Ohio man who survived last week's shootings at a Colorado movie theater told reporters Monday he initially thought the attack was special effects. Jim Letizia reports. 

Akron Police say one person is dead and two others were wounded after a shooting at a restaurant last night. Police say someone began shooting from outside of the Al Sanders Casual Dining Restaurant after that person was refused entry. Police have yet to release any other information. 

Louise Nippert, co-owner of the Cincinnati Reds during the Big Red Machine era, died Monday at the age of 100 following a brief illness. Nippert and her husband Louis purchased majority control of the Reds in 1973. Louis Nippert passed away in 1992. 

Family attorney Rob Scott of Dayton says 27-year-old Matthew McQuinn was killed after diving in front of his girlfriend and her older brother amid the gunfire.

The Department of Defense says a soldier from the 20th Engineer Battalion has died in Afghanistan. Military officials say 24-year-old Pfc. Jeffrey L. Rice of Troy, Ohio, died July 19 in Kandahar.

A teenager from Forest, Ohio and the daughter of St. Paris Fire Chief Scott Massie were among the dozens of people injured in the shooting at the Colorado movie theater where 12 people were killed this morning. Family members say Gage Hankins and Samanta Yowler are expected to recover. 

Ohio's unemployment rate fell by one-tenth of one percent from May to June, the 11th consecutive monthly decline. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says the seasonally adjusted rate is now 7.2 percent, the lowest since September 2008.

The First Ohio District Court of Appeals has upheld a Hamilton County court ruling striking down a Cincinnati law prohibiting municipal employees from living outside the state. The appeals court says the ordinance conflicts with state law. The state law upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court in 2009 says employees of political subdivisions in the state have the right to reside any place they desire. But local governments are allowed to require certain employees to live no farther away than adjacent counties to ensure adequate response times toemergencies or disasters. 

Columbus police have now identified the man killed by an officer Tuesday at an apartment complex on the North side. Police say 21-year-old Destin Thomas was killed by officer William Kaufman after Thomas ran outside of the building. Police initially thought Thomas might have been shot inside of his apartment during a robbery attempt. Four Columbus police officers have fired on people in the last four days. 

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports the Big Ten is considering giving commissioner Jim Delany the authority to fire coaches in the wake of the Penn State child sexual abuse scandal. The plan would also give Delany the authority to levy sanctions. The Big Ten has yet to comment. A report commissioned by Penn State said school leaders, including the late football coach Joe Paterno, ignored allegations more than a decade ago to avoid bad publicity, allowing assistant coach Jerry Sandusky to prey on other boys for years.  

An Ohio Supreme Court committee studying the state's capital punishment law has rejected a recommendation to collect past data to detect racial bias in death penalty cases. The committee also postponed votes on a recommendation to collect information in future cases that may be eligible for capital punishment as another way of detecting racial bias. The committee Thursday approved a recommendation to require the training of prosecutors, attorneys and judges involved in death penalty cases to protect against racial bias. 

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld an appeals court ruling overturning the conviction of a Columbus woman for her role in a fatal hit-and-run in a shopping mall parking lot. The justices say the 2009 retrial and conviction in Clark County of 27-year-old Toneisha Gunnell violated her constitutional right against double jeopardy. A County judge had originally declared a mistrial. Gunnell and three other women were convicted in the 2005 death of 49-year-old John Deselem after they robbed a mall clothier.  

A coalition of tea party groups says Republican Governor John Kasich's plan to raise the severance tax on oil and gas drillers to fund an income tax cut is "unnecessary and unwise." The idea remains stalled in the GOP-controlled Legislature. The Ohio Liberty Coalition is telling its members to urge lawmakers to oppose the proposal. The group's president says Kasich should trim state spending if he want cut taxes. Public opinion polls indicate voters support Kasich's proposal. 

The Labor Department says the number of claims for unemployment insurance benefits in Ohio rose by nearly 6-thousand last week, third most behind New York and Michigan. Nationally, claims rose by 34-thousand to a seasonally adjusted 386-thousand, reversing a decline from the previous week. Economists note the Department struggles to adjust claims figures to reflect temporary summertime layoffs in the auto industry. Many automakers are foregoing the typical factory shutdowns amid stronger sales. Applications must fall consistently below 375-thousand to lower the unemployment rate. 

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp says second-quarter profit rose by 15 percent to 376-million dollars, as a sharp drop in writeoffs of unpaid loans enabled the firm to reduce how much it set aside to cover problem lending. Fifth Third wrote off 181 million in unpaid loans, down 40 percent from last year. It set aside 71 million to cover bad debt, down 37 percent from the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, Cleveland based Keycorp reports second quarter profit fell by 3-million to 231-million dollars as it wrote off fewer unpaid loans, and loans and deposits increased.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission says the Columbus casino should open by October 8th, as long as it meets necessary requirements. Those include the installation of 3-thousand slot machines, 70 table games, and the licensing of employees and the casino itself. Owner Penn National Gaming says 900 of the 2 thousand planned employees have been hired. Meanwhile Cuyahoga County Prosecutors say they have compelling video evidence against seven men indicted for cheating at the Cleveland Casino. Six have pleaded not guilty while the seventh is awaiting arraignment.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrapped up a campaign swing through Ohio with a high-end fundraising event last night at a country club near Canton. Prices for the reception, photo session and dinner ranged from 25-hundred to 50-thousand dollars. Romney repeated his recent campaign theme that President Obama doesn't understand how the economy works. Romney also brushed aside additional calls for the release of more of his yearly tax returns.

The attorney for a Columbus man imprisoned in Dubai for more than four years on fraud charges says his client is now free on bond and is receiving medical attention. Eric Akers says Zack Shahin's family remains concerned for his well-being. Shahin's family has said Dubai authorities have mistreated him. Akers says Shahin lost 50 pounds in prison and has heart problems. Shahin was CEO of Deyaar Development Company, which began as a subsidiary of the Dubai Islamic Bank. He was accused of defrauding the bank out of 501 million dollars

Attorney General Mike DeWine says the owner of two state-funded day care operations in northwest Ohio has been convicted of fraudulently billing the state for thousands of dollars in care that wasn't provided.

The search for an Ashland man wanted in the killing of his girlfriend has moved to Columbus. Police say a central Ohio resident reported seeing a man suspected of killing his on-and-off girlfriend during a vacation to North Carolina's Outer Banks, but a search turned up nothing.

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