Ohio lawmaker facing new counts yields chairmanship
Written by DAN SEWELL, Associated Press   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:17

CINCINNATI (AP) — The speaker of the state House said Thursday a southwest Ohio lawmaker has agreed to give up his powerful committee chairmanship after a new indictment that alleges he engaged in a pattern of corruption.

Speaker William Batchelder, R-Medina, said Republican Rep. Pete Beck would relinquish chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee, "effective immediately."

A grand jury in Cincinnati on Thursday brought 53 new counts against Beck, including one alleging a pattern of corruption. Beck already faced trial in April after an indictment last year on 16 felony counts.

The Ways and Means Committee helps review and set tax policy; it recently has been weighing a proposed tax hike on oil and gas drillers.

"There are several important initiatives currently being considered by this committee that must continue uninterrupted," Batchelder said in a statement. "These are proposals that will have a long-standing impact on the state of Ohio, and all Ohioans can rest assured that the House will continue the hardworking effort on these initiatives."

Ohio man accused of being Facebook predator
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:15

MENTOR, Ohio (AP) — Police in northeast Ohio are looking for other possible victims of a man accused of trying to get a young girl to send him inappropriate photos on Facebook.

It started when a 12-year-old girl in Mentor contacted police saying another Facebook user had asked for inappropriate pictures. An investigator contacted the user, posing as a 14-year-old girl. During their conversation, the user solicited sex.

The (Willoughby) News-Herald (http://bit.ly/NJfIOA ) reports the user's profile led them to 30-year-old Troy P. Slapnicker of Mentor. He was arrested earlier this week and his computer equipment seized.

Slapnicker is facing a felony count of importuning. He's being held with a $100,000 bond. Online records had no attorney information.

Police say more charges are possible.


Information from: The News-Herald, http://www.news-herald.com/jrc-html/index/index_p33.html

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ohio auditor to examine three charter school sponsors
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 14:02

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state auditor is investigating three sponsors of Ohio charter schools following a string of failed schools.

Auditor Dave Yost tells The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1bPbiuw ) that he also will audit the Ohio Department of Education and review its charter process.

Yost is auditing St. Aloysius Orphanage in Cincinnati; the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, based in Marion and Tiffin; and the Warren County Educational Service Center.

The investigation comes after the newspaper reported that 29 percent of Ohio's charter schools have closed dating to 1997. That included 17 schools last year in Columbus. Nine of those that closed in the capital in 2013 lasted a few months, costing taxpayers at least $1.6 million.

Before charters can open, they must get a sponsor to act as the check on decision-making.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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

Great Lakes become nearly covered with ice
Written by JOHN FLESHER, AP Environmental Writer   
Friday, 14 February 2014 07:09

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) — From the bridge of the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw, northern Lake Huron looks like a vast, snow-covered field dotted with ice slabs as big as boulders — a battleground for the icebreaker's 58-member crew during one of the roughest winters in memory.

It's been so bitterly cold for so long in the Upper Midwest that the Great Lakes are almost completely covered with ice. The last time they came this close was in 1994, when 94 percent of the lakes' surface was frozen.

As of Thursday, ice cover extended across 88 percent, according to the federal government's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

Sections of the lakes, which hold nearly one-fifth of the freshwater on the world's surface, harden almost every winter. That freezing keeps the Coast Guard's fleet of nine icebreakers busy clearing paths for vessels hauling essential cargo such as heating oil, salt and coal. But over the past four decades, the average ice cover has receded 70 percent, scientists say, probably in part because of climate change.

Officials: Rescued Ohio children enjoying freedom
Written by AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 13:54

CINCINNATI (AP) — Three Ohio children who police say were tied to their beds for long periods of time, beaten and deprived of food are now relishing the seemingly mundane — going to school and eating ice cream.

Authorities removed the children from their Wheelersburg home in southern Ohio's Appalachian country last week after one of them sent a teacher at her online school an email for help.

The children's mother, stepfather and grandmother were arrested Tuesday for child endangerment. The stepfather also is charged with raping the two girls of the family, ages 9 and 11.

The adults' attorneys declined comment or didn't return messages.

Scioto County sheriff's Capt. David Hall says the children are lucky to be alive, and that they've been living with a loving foster family and enjoying normalcy.

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

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 February 2014 13:56
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