(Updated) Football coach pleads no contest in Ohio rape case
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 14:07

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of an underage drinking party that preceded the rape of a girl by two high school football players in 2012 pleaded no contest to two charges on Tuesday, the Ohio attorney general's office said.

Defendant Matt Belardine entered no contest pleas in Jefferson County court to one count of making a false statement and one count of enabling underage drinking. Charges of obstructing official business and contributing to the delinquency of a child were dismissed.

Special Judge Patricia Ann Cosgrove sentenced Belardine to 10 days in jail, one year of supervision and 40 hours of community service. She also fined him $1,000.

A message left for Belardine's attorney seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.

Belardine was one of six people charged last year by a grand jury investigating whether other laws were broken in the case of the 16-year-old West Virginia girl who was raped after an alcohol-fueled house party in August 2012.

With Belardine's plea, four of those cases have been resolved. The players were convicted in March 2013 and sentenced to the state's juvenile detention system.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 15:05
Foes of Ohio clean energy bill criticize senator
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 10:29

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Opponents of a bill turning back Ohio's alternative energy targets are alleging the Senate utilities chairman has disrespected and offended witnesses during hearings on the measure.

A combat veteran who works for the Sierra Club wrote a letter of complaint about Republican Sen. Bill Seitz (syts) to the Senate president. He says Seitz mocked the Bataan Death March in which 650 American soldiers were killed and spoke in a German accent while speaking of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.

Other witnesses say Seitz walked out on a clergy member and pretended to shoot himself in the head when listening to the state's watchdog for utility consumers.

Seitz, of Cincinnati, says opponents are taking him out of context. He says he's allowed many hours of opponent testimony on the bill.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Judge rules for newspaper in mug shot dispute case
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 09:08

DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge says the Detroit Free Press has a right to publish the mug shots of defendants in a criminal case.

According to the decision Monday by U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan, a federal appeals court previously found that people in mug shots "do not have a privacy interest warranting nondisclosure."

Duggan wrote that he's bound by law to uphold that decision.

Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday with representatives of the Justice Department and the U.S. Marshals Service.

At issue is the newspaper's request for the booking photos of four Highland Park police officers awaiting trial in a drug and public corruption case.

Free Press lawyer Herschel Fink tells the newspaper (http://on.freep.com/1ibeB6V ) that the public "has a legitimate interest in seeing" those charged with crimes.


Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ann Arbor moves forward with plans to curb smoking
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 09:14

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Ann Arbor is moving forward with plans to curb smoking in the city.

The Michigan Daily reports (http://bit.ly/1po0HSP ) City Council passed an anti-smoking ordinance 9-2 Monday night to make smoking near bus stops and within 20 feet of city buildings a civil infraction. The ordinance also will prohibit smoking in certain areas of parks.

Punishment could be a $25 fine or community service.

Councilmember Christopher Taylor was among those in favor of the ordinance, saying it's "not a tremendous burden on people." He says it's primarily intended to allow non-smokers to create social norms that educate smokers and could prevent others from taking up smoking.

Councilmember Jane Lumm voted against the ordinance, citing doubts about enforcement. She says any type of enforcement would be a waste of police officers' time.


Information from: The Michigan Daily, http://www.michigandaily.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Michigan school districts get leeway on snow days
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 06:29

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is giving schools more flexibility in making up for snow days this academic year after record snowfall and harsh temperatures caused dozens of cancelations in some districts.

Schools that had scheduled 175 or more days can now hold just 174, as long as they still reach the 1,098 hours required per school year. Schools can count six cancelled days as instructional days under previous state law.

Districts that scheduled 170 to 174 days must meet their original target. Schools that need to add more days to the end of the school year can receive state money as long as they have 60 percent of students in attendance on those days. That's down from the regular 75 percent attendance requirement for funding.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the changes into law earlier this month.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 09:08
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