The Columbus Schools are showing a decline in state test results. The Ohio Department of Education's annual report card gives the district a grade of C, one-half point above a D grade. The Department says student test results are lower in nearly all subjects and grade levels. The Department and the District are not saying if the scores are related to the attendance-fixing scandal. Meanwhile Superintendent Gene Harris says some principals may have received financial bonuses by changing student attendance records.
The Franklin County Coroner says an autopsy performed on 22-year-old Columbus Crew midfielder Kirk Urso yesterday is inconclusive. Jan Gorniak says indications point to "an apparent natural death" pending toxicology test results that will not be finalized for four to six weeks. Gorniak says the autopsy showed changes in Urso's heart which may not have contributed to death. Urso died Sunday hours after collapsing at a downtown Columbus bar.
Secretary of State Jon Husted says a coalition seeking to change how Ohio draws legislative and congressional districts has collected enough valid petition signatures to qualify its proposed constitutional amendment for the November ballot. Husted says the Voters First coalition collected the more than 406-thousand valid petition signatures required to make the ballot. The proposal would take map-drawing powers away from elected officials and put them in the hands of a 12-person citizen commission. The Ohio Republican Party is fighting the measure.
A federal judge overseeing the case against five men charged with plotting to bomb a highway bridge in Ohio won't allow prosecutors to use a recording of what they say is a confession. U.S. District Court Judge David Dowd in Akron ruled Monday that he won't allow the partial audio tape to be played at the trial of 26-year-old Douglas L. Wright of Indianapolis.
The Dayton Daily News reports Lebanon Correctional Institution warden Timothy Brunsman was demoted amid questions about his handling of inappropriate sexual conduct by prison health care administrator Amy Weiss. Brunsman left the prison in mid-July for an interim desk job. He starts work August 12 thas the warden's assistant at the Madison Correctional Institution. A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections declined to discuss specifics.
Akron police have delayed today's scheduled arraignment of the man who allegedly shot and killed his wife at a hospital on Saturday. Police say they need results of an autopsy being performed today to decide what charges to file against the suspect, but he will likely face a murder charge when he is arraigned on Tuesday. Police say 66-year-old John Wise shot his 65-year-old wife Barbara in her hospital bed in what may have been a mercy killing.
New data from energy industry analysts and the federal government show the Marcellus Shale formation running under Ohio and several other states is about to become the most productive natural gas field in the US. But Jay Apt, a professor of technology at Carnegie Mellon University, questions whether the volume of production will fuel the growth of local industry, or whether the gas will be shipped to Canada, the Gulf Coast or overseas, where the price is much higher.
The City of Canton is planning to hire a consultant to look into leasing city-owned property for gas and oil drilling. The city law director says the mayor may hire a consultant for up to 15-thousand dollars without city council approval, but cannot lease mineral rights without council approval. Consultants will be hired to research deeds and compile information on city properties, including how close they are to underground water sources. Opponents of the plan say they are concerned about water contamination and health problems from the drilling technique called fracking.
A woman severely injured when she went to the aid of a horse owner in danger of being trampled is challenging the state's definition of being a spectator at an equine event as she seeks damages for her injuries. Roshel Smith says her presence at the horse barn where the accident happened is not covered by the state law meant to limit lawsuits against the horse industry. Defendant Donald Landfair argues Smith voluntarily went to the horse barn and watched activities involving horses, just the type of situation the law covers. A lower court has sided with Smith.
State Schools Superintendent Stan Heffner will officially resign this Friday amid ethical questions about his work for an educational testing contractor. Heffner's two-sentence resignation letter was released Saturday by the state Education Department. No reason for his departure was given in the letter that came days after Inspector General Randall Meyer found Heffner was on the payroll of a Texas-based testing firm when he lobbied Ohio lawmakers last year on a bill that benefited the company. Deputy Superintendent Michael Sawyers will become acting superintendent.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of urban farmers markets has increased thanks to a greater demand for locally grown fruits and vegetables. There are now more than 78-hundred farmers markets registered with the USDA, up from 17-hundred in 1994. The department has worked to make farmers markets more accessible by outfitting some with equipment that accepts payments from government-subsidized food programs. Columbus Public Health officials yesterday launched a farmers market that will operate on Thursdays this month at their offices on Parsons Avenue.
The Ohio Republican congressman who's retiring in frustration over political gridlock says he hopes the institution doesn't have to hit "rock bottom" before members learn to work in a bi-partisan fashion. Steve LaTourette told MSNBC today voters haven't demanded enough change. But U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio says it is the public and not politicians who are polarized. Congress has departed for five weeks of vacation and prospects of a fall fraught with decisions on America's political and economic future.
A tea-party-linked group whose backers have not been publicly disclosed is circulating an anti-tax pledge at the Statehouse against Republican Governor John Kasich's proposed severance tax increase on oil and gas drillers. The revenue would be used to fund an income tax cut. Founder Chris Littleton tells The Associated Press the nonprofit group "Ohio Rising" is an independent grassroots organization, and signers of the pledge will not be disclosed until there's critical mass.
The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio says methane gas produced by decomposing trash in the Franklin County landfill will soon be used to create electricity and fuel for vehicles. SWACO has signed a 20-year contract with a renewable energy company to clean and process the methane currently burned at the landfill to keep it from building up in underground pockets or leaking into the air. The processed methane will then be sold, with SWACO sharing in the profits. Director Ron Mills says those profits will help pay for upkeep of the landfill.
Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner has reached a deal to sell the team to Tennessee truck-stop magnate Jimmy Haslam for more than 1-billion dollars. The price nearly double what Lerner's late father Al paid for the team in 1998. Cleveland Plain Dealer sports columnist Terry Pluto says that is due to a number of factors. A majority of NFL owners still must approve the sale. The Browns have had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance in 13 seasons of Lerner family ownership.
Experts interviewed by The Associated Press say Ohio Governor John Kasich's claim that a single energy company could recover 1 trillion dollars worth of oil and gas from the state's shale formation is an exorbitant overestimate. At current oil prices, that figure represents more than four times the worth of all U.S. production last year. Arthur Berman, a Texas-based petroleum geologist and independent energy consultant, say Kasich is "probably wrong by a couple of zeroes." Kasich traces the trillion-dollar figure to a conversation with an energy company CEO.
Licking County sheriff's deputies say a 71-year-old Pickerington man died Thursday when his car collided with a utility truck in Etna Township. Lawrence Balanti was killed. His wife and granddaughter were treated for minor injuries, as was the truck driver, 36-year-old Sherman Muncy of Pataskala. Deputies say Balanti pulled into the path of Muncy's truck.
Police searched a Central Ohio home Thursday for clues in the death of a pregnant woman found in a car parked along a Delaware County road on Wednesday. Authorities did not say if they found anything linked to the case of 23-year-old Deanna Ballman of Pataskala, who was last seen on Tuesday. The Colorado Army National Guard says Ballman was a supply specialist with the 220th Military Police unit and was transferring to a unit in Ohio.
The outbreak of swine flu among several dozen people who attended the Butler County Fair last week has been linked to a similar outbreak in Indiana. Health officials say up to 41 people, nearly all of them children, have become sick with symptoms similar to those of a swine flu strain. The southwest Ohio cases are linked to the Butler County Fair, which ended last weekend.