WCBE

Associated Press

President Obama's campaign is launching a new television ad in Ohio and eight other battleground states attacking Republican rival Mitt Romney's business record. The ad says Romney invested in companies that moved jobs overseas and supports tax breaks for companies that do so. Democrats believe a drumbeat of ads accusing Romney of shipping U.S. jobs overseas is starting to take hold in battleground states and impact voters' views of the presumptive GOP nominee.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has set a new pricing structure for fees competitors must pay Columbus-based American Electric Power as it transitions to a competitive market. The commission's order sets the fee at nearly 189-dollars per megawatt day, but requires AEP to charge suppliers a lower market-based price.  Regulators say AEP can recover the difference, and they expect rule in August on how that would work. The charge is not assessed directly to customers, but businesses could choose to pass along the increase to customers.

More than 300-thousand people in central and southwestern Ohio remain without power this morning as crews work to restore service interrupted by two rounds of weekend thunderstorms. All but a few thousand are American Electric Power customers. The company says they may be in the dark through the end of the week.  AEP President Pablo Vegas has pledged crews will work through the weekend to restore service. Ohio is under state and federal emergency declarations. Ohio National Guard members today continue visiting Columbus and Dayton residents to see if they need assistance.

The State Fire Marshal urges Ohioans not to use backyard fireworks because of high fire danger from dry conditions as well as the general risk of personal injury. Larry Flowers says the combination of dry conditions, high temperatures and possible wind gusts the next few days create a greater risk of fires triggered by sparks. Dr. Tom Waters of the Cleveland Clinic says more than half the injuries that occur on the fourth are the result of fireworks. Waters notes even sparklers are dangerous.

Ohio Governor John Kasich was in Cleveland today, signing off on a sweeping overhaul of that city's school district. The bill will give Mayor Frank Jackson the authority to set up a committee that will set standards for students and teachers, while overseeing charter schools. It also eliminates seniority as a deciding factor in teacher layoffs, replacing it with evaluations.

Small business owners, farmers and other Ohioans affected by severe weather may be eligible for interest rate reductions on loans to recover or rebuild from the storm damage.  Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel says he's made 25 million dollars available through the state's Renew Ohio & Rebuild Ohio emergency financing programs to help storm victims. The treasurer's office says small business owners and farmers may apply for up to a three percent interest rate reduction on new or existing loans for construction - or to improve cash flow.

Crews continue working to restore electricity for thousands of Central Ohioans and others around the state hit hard by the weekend storms. Columbus-based American Electric Power says crews have restored service to more than 245-thousand of the 680-thousand customers affected by the storms. AEP says 24-thousand of its Central Ohio customers have no service, with the bulk of the outages in Franklin County. The company says Columbus-area customers will not have service until the weekend.
 

New concern in natural gas-rich eastern Ohio has raised the question of whether cemeteries are a proper place for drilling. It started at the 122-year-old Lowellville Cemetery, in rural Poland Township.

Hundreds of bus drivers and mechanics in Columbus have gone on strike despite reaching a tentative agreement with COTA, putting travelers in a pinch a day before the city's massive Independence Day celebration downtown.

Ohio Governor John Kasich today declared a state of emergency in Ohio after dangerous storms and strong winds swept through Friday resulting in power outages across nearly two-thirds of the state.

The head of Ohio's most prestigious hospital says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the federal health care law will mean more people will get the care they need at an affordable cost.

A small plane crashed into a pond near Chapman Memorial Field in Centerburg this morning. The State Highway Patrol says 75-year-old pilot Thomas Whittaker was the only person on board. He was not injured. Troopers say Whittaker was making a recretational flight when his controls malfunctioned. 

A shuttlecraft that was used in the original "Star Trek" TV series in the late 1960s and acquired by an Ohio collector sold at auction Thursday for just over 70-thousand dollars after a last-minute bidding war. An Akron-area collector had the partially restore Galileo shuttlecraft for several years
before putting it up for auction online. Auctioneer Brooks Ames says the selling price rose as three late bidders fought to claim the shuttlecraft.  Ames believes the buyer plans to restore it and possibly display it in a museum. 

Congress is expected to vote shortly to order federal engineers to speed up a study of how to keep the Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. The measure requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to produce a plan for preventing species migrations between the lakes and the Mississippi River watershed within 18 months. The provision was attached to a highway spending bill. The Obama administration has pledged to produce a list of options by the end of 2013. But the measure requires a more detailed plan for blocking invasions at 18 locations.

Columbus police officials say officer shot a man after responding to a domestic violence call last night on the East side. Police say the unidentified man is being treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound and self-inflicted knife wounds. Police say a woman reported her boyfriend was threatening their two children with a knife at an apartment complex near Brice Road. Police say the man opened the door and displayed a gun. The two children are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. 

The Columbus school board is scheduled to vote next week on whether to place a levy on the November ballot. Superintendent Gene Harris has asked board members to wait until next year, so a levy can be combined with a bond issue for school upgrades. Meanwhile the man who oversaw data collection for the district is being reassigned amid investigations of claims that officials retroactively altered student attendance records to boost ratings on the district's state report card.

Republican Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling upholding the individual insurance mandate in the federal health care law will make it the predominant issue of the presidential campaign. 

The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has rejected a request to posthumously restore the American citizenship of a recently deceased Cleveland-area autoworker convicted of Nazi war crimes. John Demjanjuk died in Germany in March at age 91. His attorneys say the government withheld potentially helpful material. They asked the court to either restore the citizenship or to order a hearing on the case. The decision upholds a ruling last year by a Cleveland judge who refused to reopen the citizenship case. 

West Virginia authorities have released the name of the Central Ohio pilot killed when his small plane crashed on June 22nd near a state forest. The state Medical Examiner's Office identifies the pilot as 63-year-old Richard Lambert of Columbus. The cause of the crash has yet to be determined. 

Columbus Police say a 13-year-old girl driving on Interstate 70 on the South Side rear-ended an unmarked police cruiser early this morning. Both drivers were taken to local hospitals as a precaution. Authorities have not release their names but say the girl will be cited. 

The State Auditor and the State Education Department say they will investigate allegations that Columbus schools administrators manipulated attendance records to improve the district's state report card. The district has two weeks to turn over records and communications related to the issue. The records affect state aid to the district. 

The family of an Ohio man who died after his losing his leg at West Virginia's Shoemaker Mine has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Consol Energy. 

Officials have identified a worker fatally injured in an accident at a General Motors plant in suburban Cleveland.

A central Ohio judge has blocked the state from moving forward with tentative Medicaid contracts it awarded to five managed-care organizations.

The American Red Cross says it has reached a deal with employees in northwest Ohio that will end a three-month strike. 

One of five suspects charged with plotting to bomb a highway bridge in Ohio wants to exclude trial evidence that he threatened to bomb his seventh-grade principal. Attorney Anthony Vegh told a federal judge in Akron that information about the threat by Douglas Wright of Indianapolis when he was 12 years old would prejudice the jury. The judge said Thursday he will take up the issue next month. All five men have pleaded not guilty. They allegedly tried to detonate what turned out to be a dud bomb provided by an informant.

A new report by Columbus-based Battelle and the Biotechnology Industry Organization finds the bioscience sector expanding as the overall job market struggles. 

The state is appealing a judge's decision that an Ohio man is too mentally ill to be executed for killing his estranged wife and brother-in-law in a courtroom basement. 

Major League Baseball expanded its playoff format to 10 teams Friday, adding a second wild-card in each league.

The decision establishes a new one-game, wild-card round in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners, meaning a third-place team could win the World Series.

This is the only change in baseball's playoff structure since the 1995 season, when wild-card teams were first added.

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