A group of Westerville taxpayers want to take a school levy off the books. They've collected more than five-thousand signatures to place a repeal issue on the November ballot, saying taxpayers can not afford the levy passed in March. Westerville school officials have not yet said what they would cut if the measure is repealed.
The Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission has issued an air quality alert for Central Ohio for today. The agency says high heat will combine with pollutants from vehicles and industry to create unhealthy levels of smog in the air. Children, the elderly, and people with breathing difficulties are advised to monitor and limit their outdoor activities.
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.
NASA's Curiosity rover has beamed back its first color photograph from Mars. The image is of a pebbly landscape and the rim of the Gale Crater in the distance. The rover took the photo with a camera at the end of its robotic arm. Curiosity snapped the photo on its first day on the surface after touching down Sunday night. Parma-based GrafTech International helped develop Curiosity's heat shields, and the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland developed and tested the rover's elaborate parachute landing system.
Ohio State Fair organizers credit good weather for an increase in attendance. Organizers say more than 840-thousand people attended over the 12-day run that ended Sunday - seven-thousand more than 2011, and the most since 2004.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly Crop Progress report shows the nation's corn and soybean crops remain in poor shape amid widespread drought. Half of the nation's corn is in poor condition and 39 percent of the soybean crop is in poor condition, up slightly from last week. Large portions of both are grown in the Midwest where the drought is severe. Nearly 16-hundred counties in Ohio and 31 other states have been declared federal disaster areas due to the drought. But the drought does not seem to be having an effect on Ohio wine producers.
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.
A Franklin County Grand Jury today indicted three men arrested last month in the county's first cases involving the trafficking of bath salts. 29-year-old Soleiman Mobarak, 28-year-old Hasan Mobarak, and 57-year-old Thomas Smith face multiple drug-related charges. They were arrested after local, state, and federal authorities raided five businesses and one home in late July. Several thousand packages of bath salts were seized from four businesses in the High Street and Fifth Avenue areas, from one business on Worthington Galena Road, and from a local home.
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.
The bomb squad was called to Port Columbus last night to investigate a suspicious package found near a COTA bus stop on the arrival level. Columbus Fire officials say the package contained no explosives but will be examined by investigators. Airport officials say flights were not affected.
Family and friends of a fallen soldier will pay their final respects during funeral services later today. The body of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Bobby Estle arrived Sunday at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, one week after he was killed during combat operations in Afghanistan.
No injuries are reported out of a pre-dawn house fire on the West side. Columbus firefighters closed a portion of Sullivant Avenue between South Davis Avenue and South Green Street this morning as they battled the blaze at a home in the 700-block of Sullivant. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Ohio State Bar Association has issued its rankings for Ohio Supreme Court candidates. That has the chair of the Ohio Republican Party making strong comments against the Association. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.
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.
The Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation has applied to bring the NCAA men's basketball tournament to the queen city in either 2014 or 2015. NCAA officials will visit Cincinnati at a later date to check on the region's ability to host the tournament.