Ohio family with mini horse as service animal sues
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:36

BLUE ASH, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio city is violating federal housing law and protections for people with disabilities by refusing to let a girl keep a miniature horse as a service animal, her mother said in a lawsuit.

Ingrid Anderson and the advocacy group Housing Opportunities Made Equal, or HOME, filed the lawsuit Tuesday against the city of Blue Ash.

A medical center recommended the horse for Anderson's daughter, who has physical ailments, The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1c1G1oi) reported. HOME executive director Elizabeth Brown said the girl uses the horse — which is named Ellie and is the size of a large dog — for support to walk in her yard and to pull herself up after falls.

Brown said Blue Ash officials characterized the horse as livestock and said it had to be removed. She said the group tried to work with the city and that the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati was a last resort.

Ohio wants help solving 15 loosely linked killings
Written by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 14:35

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Loosely affiliated "groups and associates" have committed 15 unsolved, mostly drug-related homicides in central Ohio since 1998, authorities announced Wednesday as they asked the public's help in identifying suspects.

State and federal police and prosecutors stopped short of identifying specific gangs that might be involved. They said the killings, almost all in Columbus, often involved violent home invasions and drugs.

The last homicide was committed July 4. The victims include two women.

"We have good reason to believe that they are tied together over this period of time, by some ... groups and associates committing the offenses," said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien.

Records: Ohio governor's aides knew of pro-drilling plan
Written by JULIE CARR SMYTH, AP Statehouse Correspondent   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 07:22

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Top advisers to Republican Gov. John Kasich knew the Ohio Department of Natural Resources planned to discredit environmental groups and two lawmakers while promoting drilling in state parks and forests in 2012, new records show.

Top administration officials met with department leaders about the plan, the governor's spokesman acknowledged Tuesday. Invitees to that meeting included Kasich's chief policy adviser, chief of staff, legislative liaison and then-environmental czar Craig Butler, whom Kasich recently appointed to lead the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Spokesman Rob Nichols downplayed his earlier claims that the administration had no knowledge of the plan.

"I don't know what specific pieces of paper different people saw a year and a half ago, but of course the administration is going to coordinate and plan ahead on an important issue like gas production on state land," he said in an email.

The department said the plan was only discussed and never implemented.

Opening statements set in Ohio slave labor trial
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 07:27

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Prosecutors and defense attorneys are set to outline their arguments at the Ohio trial of two people charged with enslaving a mentally disabled woman for two years with her child.

Opening statements were scheduled Wednesday in federal court in Youngstown at the trial of 27-year-old Jordie Callahan and 32-year-old Jessica Hunt. They pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say the victim was forced to do housework in Ashland while she and her child were threatened with a python or pit bulls. The defendants are accused of looting her bank account and public assistance.

Police got involved when the woman was arrested for shoplifting a candy bar and asked to be jailed because people had been mean to her.

The judge says the trial could last three weeks, and 60 witnesses may testify.

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

Three indicted after Ohio girl's email plea for help
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 07:20

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — Two parents and a grandmother accused of tying three children to their beds for weeks, beating their naked bodies with belts and paddles and depriving them of food until one of them emailed her online school teacher for help were indicted Tuesday on child endangerment charges.

The indictments came a week after the three adults were arrested in their home in Wheelersburg, in southern Ohio's Appalachian country.

The adults are charged in Scioto County Common Pleas Court with three counts each of child endangerment. One of them, a 44-year-old stepfather, also is charged with raping two of the children, girls ages 9 and 11.

The adults' attorneys have declined to comment or ignored requests for comment. The Associated Press is not naming the adults to protect the children's identities.

Since at least May, the three adults are accused of tying and chaining the girls and their 8-year-old brother to their beds so they were "unable to move or get out of the bed" for weeks at a time, according to arrest documents filed in Portsmouth Municipal Court.

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