Bundle up: Another round of cold is on the way
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 18 January 2014 07:30

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The polar vortex that gripped much of the country has moved on, but don't get too comfortable — another round of frigid air is expected to arrive next week across the northern U.S., from the Dakotas eastward to New England.

It'll be cold, but not the life-threatening cold of last week when subzero temperatures enveloped much of the country and contributed to at least a dozen deaths.

Temperatures will start falling over the weekend into Monday, said Bob McMahon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The cold is expected to persist until Thursday, just in time for a second blast of frigid air to move in and keep temperatures about 10 degrees below average, he said.

"We get these periods of below-normal temperatures in the winter. It's not abnormally cold, it's not a record cold but it is colder than normal," McMahon said Friday. "People just need to be aware of that and take normal precautions."

The freeze will start moderately Saturday in Pennsylvania and states northward. Highs will generally range from the teens to lower 20s, and the cold spell could extend as far south as the Gulf states.

Ohio officers disciplined in school gun discharge
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 18 January 2014 07:27

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Two police officers in northeast Ohio have been disciplined after a gun accidentally fired while they cleaned their weapons at the high school where they were assigned.

The round lodged in a cinder block wall and no one was hurt.

The incident occurred in mid-December at Field High School and involved police from Brimfield Township east of Akron.

Township Police Chief David Oliver told the Akron Beacon Journal (bit.ly/1b8yQtO) on Friday that the officers used poor judgment by cleaning their pistols during school hours.

He said they used an isolated, cinderblock room while students were in class.

Ohio judge pleads not guilty to felony charges
Written by DAN SEWELL, Associated Press   
Friday, 17 January 2014 14:23

CINCINNATI (AP) — A southwest Ohio juvenile court judge accused of backdating court documents and misusing county credit cards pleaded not guilty Friday to nine felony charges.

Judge Tracie Hunter stood before Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel and listened as the charges were read and her attorney, Richard Blake of Cleveland, told Nadel her plea before a standing-room-only courtroom. Hunter, who had her fingerprints and mug shot taken Wednesday at the Hamilton County Justice Center, remained free on her promise to return for future court dates. The next hearing was set for March 4.

Hunter, a Democrat, has indicated she believes she is being targeted for political reasons. She didn't comment while leaving the court, but a supporter told reporters afterward the charges are for political retaliation.

"These are trumped-up charges," said Bobby Hilton, a Cincinnati area civil rights activist with the National Action Network.

She was finally seated in 2012 after a prolonged legal battle over the disputed 2010 juvenile judge election results. After her indictment last week, Hunter, 47, suggested that there were opponents to her because of changes she wants in juvenile court and because she is a black Democrat.

Response to Indiana store shooting confirms police tactics
Written by CHARLES WILSON, Associated Press SUMMER BALLENTINE, Associated Press   
Saturday, 18 January 2014 07:15

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A deadly shooting at an Indiana grocery store this week could have been much worse if not for the quick actions of two police officers who relied on training that has become commonplace since the 1999 Columbine shootings.

Cody Skipper and Jason Tripp arrived at the Elkhart store within three minutes and needed less than 60 seconds to fatally shoot a gunman who had killed two people and was threatening a third.

But experts still disagree whether patrol officers should confront a shooter immediately or wait for backup, especially if an officer is alone.

A decade ago, the Indiana officers might have waited for a specially equipped SWAT team, which was standard practice in many police departments across the country. Training for active-shooter situations has now become routine, including preparing for the possibility that lone officers could be sent to stop a rampage.

Ohio executions face criticism after unusual death
Written by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer   
Friday, 17 January 2014 10:34

LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Ohio's capital punishment system is likely to face new challenges following an unusually long execution in which the condemned man appeared to gasp several times.

Family members of death row inmate Dennis McGuire planned a Friday news conference to announce a lawsuit over McGuire's death, which they are calling unconstitutional. And it's almost certain lawyers will use McGuire's Thursday execution to challenge Ohio's plans to put a condemned Cleveland-area killer to death next month.

"All citizens have a right to expect that they will not be treated or punished in a cruel and unusual way," defense attorney Jon Paul Rion, representing McGuire's adult children, said Thursday. "Today's actions violated that constitutional expectation."

McGuire's attorney Allen Bohnert called the convicted killer's death "a failed, agonizing experiment" and added: "The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what was done here today in their names."

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