EARLY VOTING DISPUTE
Ohio Legislature's request denied in voting case
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A federal judge has denied the Ohio Legislature's request to become part of a lawsuit challenging early voting rules in the key swing state.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly had sought to be among the lawsuit's defendants, which include the state's attorney general and elections chief. Attorneys argued that lawmakers had a right to defend the statutes they enact.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed the lawsuit in May along with predominantly black churches and the Ohio Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The groups claim that recent early voting changes will make it difficult for residents to vote and unfairly affect black voters.
The judge said Wednesday the General Assembly failed to convince the court that its position differed from the current defendants.
Ohio: 2nd fine levied against prison food vendor
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio prisons director says the state has levied a second fine against the private vendor that took over the job of feeding inmates last year.
Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said the $130,200 fine was determined earlier this month against Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services.
Mohr announced the fine Wednesday during testimony before a state prisons oversight committee hearing concerns about Aramark's performance.
Mohr said the fine relates to continued staff shortages, unacceptable food substitutions and sanitation issues.
The state levied a $142,000 fine against Aramark in April.
John Hanner, president of Aramark Correctional Services, defended his company's record in Ohio to the committee, saying food delays and substitutions have happened less than 1 percent of the time.
Problems like maggots in food, staffing shortages and reports of running out of food have emerged since Aramark took over.
Ohio GOP slate endorsed by anti-abortion group
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's largest anti-abortion group has endorsed a slate of sitting Republicans in the upcoming fall elections.
Ohio Right to Life PAC's backing of incumbent Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) and the rest of his party in the November election was expected.
In January, the abortion-rights group Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio endorsed an all-Democrat slate for statewide office in what was effectively the ticket's 2014 campaign kickoff.
Right to Life provided pivotal political support to Ohio Republicans in 2012 by remaining neutral, citing constitutional concerns, on a divisive bill that proposed one of the nation's most stringent abortion restrictions. The so-called heartbeat bill would ban most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Right to Life officials, including its president and board chairman, have landed gubernatorial appointments to Ohio boards.
Health department revokes Ohio clinic's license
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The interim director of the Ohio Department of Health has signed an order to revoke the license of Toledo's last abortion clinic.
The order takes effect Aug. 12.
Lance Himes signed the order Wednesday revoking Capital Care Network's license.
The clinic has 15 days to file an appeal and request a court stay the order pending appeal.
Himes' decision follows a state hearing officer's recommendation that the clinic should be closed because it lacks a valid emergency-care agreement with a "local" hospital.
The clinic has argued that an agreement with a hospital more than 50 miles away, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, puts it in compliance with a new Ohio law that requires the transfer agreement.
The Blade reports the clinic's owner has vowed to fight the order.
Ohio brothers convicted in shooting of bystander
CLEVELAND (AP) - A jury has convicted two brothers of murder in the death of a bystander while allegedly shooting at each other last year in Cleveland.
Twenty-five-year-old Jonathan Catron and 23-year-old Carvin Catron were found guilty Wednesday after a four-day trial. They were charged with killing 20-year-old James Swindler III.
Swindler, who lived next door to the Catrons, had stepped onto the front porch of his home after hearing a commotion on the street. Jonathan Catron stood across the street and his brother was in front of Swindler's home when the siblings fired their guns.
Ballistic tests showed that Jonathan Catron fired the fatal shot. Carvin Catron's attorney said his client fired a shot into the air and not at Swindler.
Both brothers were sentenced to 21 years to life in prison.
Life sentence for Ohioan who killed mom, kept body
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio man who stabbed his mother and then lived with her decomposing corpse for about six months has been sentenced to life in prison.
A judge in Akron who sentenced 33-year-old Michael Petrie on Wednesday says he will not be eligible for parole.
Prosecutors say the Barberton man left his mother exactly where he killed her and left two murder weapons - a kitchen knife and a martial arts weapon - near her body.
Authorities say 67-year-old Maureen Petrie was killed last October. Her body was not found until this past April.
Michael Petrie had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. But the jury convicted him of aggravated murder and abuse of a corpse.
His attorney says he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and was off his medication.
PROCTER & GAMBLE-GREENPEACE PROTEST
Court hearing planned in Ohio in P&G protest case
CINCINNATI (AP) - Prosecutors and the attorneys are heading back to court in the case of nine Greenpeace activists facing felony charges for a stunning protest at Procter & Gamble's headquarters in Cincinnati.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Winkler set a Thursday hearing to rule on pretrial matters.
Prosecutors said recently they had offered a plea settlement for the activists that would allow them to avoid prison time. They said only one defendant had expressed interest in pursuing a deal.
Without plea agreements, Winkler could set a trial date.
The activists are charged with burglary and vandalism for a March 4 protest in which they slipped into P&G and displayed huge banners from towers criticizing palm oil supplies used by the consumer products company that Greenpeace links to rainforest destruction.
Journal Communications, Scripps Co. announce deal
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Journal Communications Inc. of Milwaukee and E.W. Scripps Co. of Cincinnati have announced an agreement to merge broadcasting operations while spinning off newspaper holdings into a separate public company.
As part of the deal announced by the companies Wednesday, the newspaper component, Journal Media Group, will be headquartered in Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Journal Media Group will include the Journal Sentinel and Scripps newspapers, including the Memphis Commercial Appeal, and others.
Meanwhile, Journal Communications' broadcast assets will be folded into Scripps, with headquarters remaining in Cincinnati.
The newspaper reports Scripps will emerge from the deal as the nation's fifth-largest independent TV group, with 34 stations.
News releases say both companies' boards of directors approved the deal. It is expected to close in 2015.
AMUSEMENT PARK-SHAVED HEADS
Amusement park tries to set shaved-heads record
MASON, Ohio (AP) - A southwestern Ohio amusement park hopes to set a world record for the most heads shaved simultaneously to help raise awareness and money for the fight against cancer.
More than 200 hair stylists from Great Clips salons in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Lima and Toledo will shave heads Friday at Kings Island amusement park north of Cincinnati.
The Guinness Book of Records shows the current record at 182 heads shaved simultaneously. That was achieved by Cancer Council ACT-Canberra Relay for Life in Canberra, Australia on March 29.
The Kings Island initiative is part of its Kicks Cancer campaign.
Park visitors also can contribute to the campaign through Aug. 24 by buying a soccer ball and kicking it into the park fountain for a chance to win a new car.
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