Government: GM missed deadline for faulty switch data
Written by TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 06:49

DETROIT (AP) — A government safety agency is fining General Motors $7,000 a day, saying the company failed to fully respond to its requests for information about a faulty ignition switch by an April 3 deadline.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a letter to GM on Tuesday that the company already owes $28,000 in fines, and they will accrue at $7,000 per day until it provides all the requested information.

In February, the agency began investigating whether GM was slow to provide information and respond to problems with the switch that has been linked to at least 13 deaths. GM has admitted knowing that the switch was defective at least a decade ago, but failed to start recalling 2.6 million compact cars worldwide until this year.

In a two-page letter to GM North America vice president and legal counsel Lucy Clark Dougherty, NHTSA's chief counsel, O. Kevin Vincent, said the company frequently stated that it did not respond to all the agency's requests because of an investigation being done for GM by former U.S. attorney Anton Valukas.

Michigan judge settles lawsuit in 'Hard Lemonade' case
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 06:48

DETROIT (AP) — A Wayne County judge has settled a lawsuit filed by a couple whose son was temporarily removed from their custody after he was mistakenly given alcohol at a Detroit Tigers game.

The case was closed Tuesday in a federal court filing. Attorneys for the parents and Judge Judy Hartsfield say settlement details are confidential.

Leo Ratte (Ra-TAY') was 7 years old in 2008 when his father mistakenly gave him "Mike's Hard Lemonade" at Comerica Park. University of Michigan professor Christopher Ratte says he didn't know the beverage had alcohol.

A police officer took steps to put Leo into protective custody for several days. His parents say their rights were violated by Hartsfield's practice of signing blank forms and leaving them to be filled in by authorities to remove children.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Funding cut threat for absentee ballots eliminated
Written by JULIE CARR SMYTH, AP Statehouse Correspondent   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 06:41

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Counties that mail out absentee ballots in violation of state law will no longer face the threat of losing funding after a committee in the GOP-led Ohio House removed language from Gov. John Kasich's midterm budget Tuesday following strong pushback from both Democrats and Republicans.

House Finance Chairman Ron Amstutz announced the House Finance Committee's plans hours before Cuyahoga County Council voted Tuesday night to assert home rule powers and mail unsolicited absentee ballots to voters if the state doesn't.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, a Democratic candidate for governor, cited the budget amendment in his request Tuesday for a federal investigation into whether laws signed recently by Kasich are intended to suppress Democratic and minority votes. The budget amendment would have stripped 10 percent of local government funding from any county that circumvents state ballot distribution rules.

Both Kasich and Secretary of State Jon Husted spoke out against the funding sanctions and urged fellow Republicans to remove it.

Three accused of running illegal northeast Ohio casino
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 06:45

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged three men with running an illegal gambling operation in northeastern Ohio.

Investigators say the group ran a casino with 200 slot machines near Canton.

All three are charged with operating an illegal gambling business and money laundering. Prosecutors also want the men to turn over $1.3 million, along with four vehicles.

Documents say the group ran the illegal gambling operation for about five years beginning in 2008.

The Canton Repository reports that the Internal Revenue Service confiscated dozens of gaming machines during a raid in May.

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

Ohio driver indicted after Virginia Marine's death
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 06:31

BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio driver has been indicted on charges of failing to stop and tampering with evidence after a hit-and-run crash killed a U.S. Marine from Virginia.

The indictment was filed Tuesday against 26-year-old Holly Fowler of Urbana. The Logan County prosecutor tells the Bellefontaine (behl-FOWN'-tihn) Examiner (http://bit.ly/1iuzV3l ) a grand jury declined to indict Fowler on vehicular homicide charges.

A message seeking comment was left for Fowler's attorney after business hours Tuesday.

Police have said that Fowler admitted responsibility and that damage on her car was consistent with evidence at the scene where a vehicle struck 34-year-old Monica Plank on Feb. 16, shortly after midnight.

The Marine from Stafford, Va. was struck after leaving a restaurant. She'd been visiting family in Bellefontaine (behl-FOWN'-tihn), roughly 50 miles northwest of Columbus.

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

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