Four thousand Central Ohioans have already signed an online petition challenging Columbus-based American Electric Power's proposal to recover the costs of restoring service that was lost following recent severe weather. The petition at Change.org says AEP can absorb the costs itself. In April, AEP reported a second quarter proft of 389 million dollars. A spokesperson for the utility says the charges will be deferred for several 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 pair of peacocks are making the Orient post office their home, setting up a roost on the building's roof. They're often seen crossing the parking lot and quietly watching customers as they pass in and out of the building. There's no word on where the peacocks came from, and local farmers have not claimed the birds.
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.
Columbus City Council this week approved two more pieces of legislation clearing the way for the removal of the Fifth Avenue dam on the Olentangy River. In late June, Council approved legislation setting the stage for the 6.9 million dollar project. The Ohio EPA and Ohio State are sharing the project's cost. Sponsoring Council member Eileen Paley says the new legsilation sets aside more than 1.2 million dollars for construction and engineering services.
The national drought is being called the worst since 1956. So far Ohio has not been hit as hard as neighboring Indiana. But some Western Ohio farmers have already written off much of their crop. Ryan McClure farms four thousand acres in Paulding County. He says recent scattered showers have not provided the amount of water farmers need to salvage their crops. Meanwhile The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is conducting a survey to assess damage caused by drought conditions.
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.
Bond is set at 1-million dollars for a Springfield man charged with killing a man with a serving fork earlier this week. Laune Dozier has pleaded not guilty to stabbing Jason Wones at his home. Springfield police say Wones was attacked while trying to stop Dozier from assaulting a woman.
The Labor Department has ordered Columbus-based Clark Graphics and owners Mary and James Clark to restore more than 500-thousand dollars to a pair of employee retirement plants. The Department sued the company for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security act, alleging insufficient oversight and mishandling of the plans.
The State Highway Patrol says high winds knocked a tree onto a pickup truck carrying two people yesterday in Licking County. Troopers say Craig and Diane Chadwick are hospitalized in Columbus in serious condition with injuries sustained when winds from strong thunderstorms knocked a large tree limb onto the cab.
Columbus police are investigating an apparent double-murder on the Southeast side. The bodies of a man and a woman were found yesterday in a vacant apartment on Wabash Court. Autopsies will be conducted to determine the official causes of death. The victims' identities are expected to be released today.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says backers of a proposed constitutional amendment on redistricting have failed to collect the number of valid petition signatures need to put the issue on the November ballot. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.
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.
Two Clark County public safety officers are being disciplined for misconduct. Sheriff Gene Kelley says deputy Christopher Dent has been fired. Kelley says Dent engaged in verbal arguments with his superiors, was found drunk in a car with his loaded service weapon and showed up to court drunk for his arraignment last week. Meanwhile German Township fire lieutenant Robert Oldham has been arrested on charges of raping a 19-year-old woman at a party. No other details have been released.
A federal judge in Nebraska has rejected a lawsuit by Ohio and six other states challenging the mandate in the federal health care law requiring religious groups to offer contraceptive coverage to their workers. The judge says the states lack the standing to challenge the rule and questioned whether they would even feel the effects. The states had argued the rule coerced religious organizations. The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of the law.
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.