The U.S Agriculture Department says nearly 15 million dollars will be available for battling the tree-killing Asian longhorned beetle in Ohio. Secretary Tom Vilsack says it will help federal and state officials increase tree inspection surveys to determine the extent of the infestation and ensure quick removal of beetle-bearing trees. The beetle was discovered in Clermont County last year. So far, nearly 85 hundred Ohio trees have been removed. The beetles are believed to have arrived in cargo shipments from Asia.
Delaware County Sheriff's deputies investigating the death of a pregnant woman found in her car have searched a New Albany home for a second time but won't say why. Deputies are not saying if they found anything linked to the death of 23-year-old Deanna Ballman of Pataskala. Investigators have executed search warrants twice at the home three miles from where her body was found last week. Relatives says Ballman was responding to an on-line ad seeking house-cleaning help. An autopsy found no signs of trauma.Ba
Monday was the five year anniversary of the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse in Utah that killed six people. Ed Havas, an attorney for the familes of the victims, says his clients believe the collapse could have been avoided. The mine's owner, Cleveland-based Murray Energy, was fined half-a-million dollars for the collapse. The company says it has no plans to reopen the mine. A Bureau of Land Management official had said the company wanted to reopen the mine at a future, unspecified date.
The feds may be gaining on GOP governors like Ohio's John Kasich who've balked at implementing a key provision of the federal health care law. Kasich and other opponents of the law say they won't set up new private health insurance exchanges. But the Associated Press reports it's looking more and more like Washington will do it for them. That means federal officials could be calling the shots on some insurance issues that states traditionally manage, from handling consumer complaints to regulating plans that will serve millions of citizens.
Bond was set today at 1-million dollars for the Akron man charged with shooting his wife in her hospital bed late Saturday night. 66-year-old John Wise appeared perplexed in court today, asking the judge whether his wife is indeed dead. 65-year-old Barbara Wise died late Sunday night, and her husband is charged with aggravated attempted murder. Akron police say it may have been a mercy killing. A hospital spokesperson says privacy laws prevent the release of details as to why Barbara Wise had been admitted to the intensive care unit a few days earlier.
Westlake police have arrested a man who allegedly carried a gun, ammunition and several knives into a theater showing the latest Batman movie on Saturday night. The suspect's name has not been released. Police say the theater's manager and an off-duty officer working security searched the man's bag and found the items. Police note the case resembles the Aurora Colorado shootings of July 20th, in which a 24-year-old man is charged with killing 12 people and wounding 58 at a midnight showing of the movie.
Voters in 35 Ohio Counties will cast ballots in special elections today. The Ohio Secretary of State's office says 60 issues are on ballots today, and three dozen involve school funding requests. Renewal levies typically have a better passage rate than new issues, according to Ohio School Boards association spokesperson Jeff Chambers. And Association legislative director Damon Ashbury says students in wealthier school districts tend to have an edge in the classroom. Many Ohio schools have gone to the ballot to help offset cuts in state funding and reductions in property tax revenues.
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.