Ohio law grants adoptees access to birth certificates
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 23 March 2014 06:42

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio law now in effect lets biological parents of adoptees decide whether to redact their names or include contact preferences in records that will soon be made available to certain adoptees.

Birth parents can also update medical information on forms for the adoptees.

Starting next year, individuals adopted between January 1, 1964, and September 18, 1996, can request their adoption files and birth certificates from the Ohio Department of Health. Records on file at the department's Office of Vital Statistics will become available to adoptees beginning March 20, 2015.

The law is expected to give about 400,000 people access to records, which had been largely blocked without a court order.

Birth certificates before 1964 and after 1996 were already a public record. But when the law was changed again in 1996, it was not made retroactive to those caught between the two laws.

Large fire sweeps through NE Ohio village downtown
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 23 March 2014 06:39

GARRETSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A firefighter was injured and 13 businesses were destroyed by a fire that swept through a historic downtown block in the northeastern Ohio village of Garrettsville.

The Garrettsville Police Department says that a firefighter was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation after battling the blaze Saturday. Officials say 34 local fire departments responded to the scene.

Police say that dispatchers received a call around 1:15 p.m. Saturday that "Main Street is on fire."

Fire officials told WKYC-TV that the fire started at the corner of Center and Main streets and spread to four buildings.

The fire is under investigation by the Portage county fire investigation unit and state fire marshal's office.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ohio challenges feds' effort to limit juvenile seclusion
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 22 March 2014 06:35

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio is challenging federal officials' legal efforts to get a court to limit solitary confinement used to discipline boys with mental health disorders throughout the state's juvenile prison system.

The Justice Department calls the practice rampant and sought an order to limit seclusion at four facilities, a request that adds to a 2008 lawsuit raising concerns about seclusion and inadequate mental health services in the system.

State responses filed Friday said a proposal aimed at reducing seclusion is under discussion and the Justice Department's latest arguments should be rejected.

Given the responsibility to provide a safe environment encouraging rehabilitation, the state is "in the best position to determine how seclusion is applied, the amount of time a youth should spend in seclusion based on all aspects of the youth's experience at (the Department of Youth Services), and the best ways to reduce seclusion if necessary," the attorney general's office wrote.

Gay marriages in Michigan halted by appeals court
Written by EMMA FIDEL, Associated Press   
Sunday, 23 March 2014 06:27

MASON, Mich. (AP) — An appeals court reinstituted Michigan's constitutional ban on gay marriage, but not before several hundred same-sex couples rushed to the state's county clerk's offices to get hitched.

The order on Saturday by a federal appeals court in Cincinnati to at least temporarily restore the ban that Michigan voters approved in 2004 came after Glenna DeJong, 53, and Marsha Caspar, 51, of Lansing, were the first on Saturday to arrive at the Ingham County Courthouse in the central Michigan city of Mason. DeJong and Caspar, who have been together for 27 years, received their license and were married by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum.

"I figured in my lifetime it would happen," Caspar said. "But now, when it happens now, it's just overwhelming. I still can't believe it. I don't think it's hit me yet."

Similar nuptials followed one after another, at times en masse, in at least four of Michigan's 83 counties. Those four — Oakland, Muskegon, Ingham and Washtenaw counties — issued more than 300 marriage licenses to same-sex couples Saturday.

Court rejects Ohio Libertarians injunction request
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 22 March 2014 06:33

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected a request for emergency action by the Libertarian Party of Ohio as it tries to ensure its gubernatorial candidate gets on the May primary ballot.

The court rejected Libertarians' demand that Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO'-sted) stop printing the party's primary ballot until the matter is resolved.

The court also refused the party's request that Husted be forced to seek a waiver to the requirement that military and overseas ballots be mailed by Saturday.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said Friday the court will take quick action on the party's overall request to get contender Charlie Earl on the ballot.

Earl was disqualified on the grounds that two Earl petitioners failed to properly disclose their employers.

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

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