GOVERNOR 2014-TAX LIENS
Democrat ends bid to be Ohio's lieutenant governor
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A Democratic lieutenant governor candidate in Ohio who faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal tax liens says he is dropping out of the race.
State Sen. Eric Kearney (KUHR'-nee) says he's leaving the ticket of gubernatorial contender Ed FitzGerald. His decision comes less than three weeks after he entered the contest.
Kearney, a Cincinnati lawyer who is black, brought racial and geographic diversity to FitzGerald's ticket, and direct ties to President Barack Obama, who is a friend.
But he couldn't overcome political fallout associated with revelations of his many unpaid debts. Most related to his small business, Cincinnati Herald publisher Sesh Communications.
FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County executive, now must pick a new running mate as he faces Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) next year.
Voter records bill among issues before Ohio House
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio House is slated to vote Wednesday on a bill to bolster the state's voter registration database.
The measure requires state agencies to share data with the secretary of state to help maintain Ohio's voter records. It also reduces the minimum number of electronic voting machines a county must have.
The Ohio Association of Election Officials supports the bill.
Wednesday is the last day the House expects to be in session this year. Senators already have wrapped up work.
Two other election-related bills not scheduled for a vote have drawn more heated reaction.
One would eliminate so-called "Golden Week," during which voters can both register and cast an early ballot. Another puts limits on when unsolicited absentee ballot applications can be sent to voters and who can send them.
Ohio court weighs death sentence for killer of 3
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court is hearing arguments for and against the death sentence given a man convicted in the slayings of his two children and former mother-in-law.
Attorneys for James Mammone (mah-MOHN') III argue the 2010 trial should have been moved outside of Canton in northeast Ohio because of publicity about the killings.
They also argue two potential jurors who said they supported the death penalty should have been removed, and evidence presented during trial such as crime scene photographs was inflammatory.
Prosecutors disagree that publicity affected the case. They say Mammone was entitled to an impartial jury, not one that had never heard of the slayings.
The court planned to hear arguments Wednesday in Columbus, with a decision to follow in several weeks.
INFANT REMAINS FOUND
2 infants' skeletal remains found in NE Ohio home
NORTH CANTON, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say the skeletal remains of two infants were found in a deceased woman's mobile home in northeast Ohio.
A man told police he found the remains Monday in a locked footlocker while cleaning out his mother's home in North Canton, about 45 miles southeast of Cleveland. Police say the 66-year-old woman died in late November.
The Stark County coroner's office confirmed the remains were those of two infants.
The police chief says it's not clear how old the remains are but that it doesn't appear the children died recently. He says the remains were in a plastic bag that was in the locker with a small blanket.
Investigators searched the home but found nothing else noteworthy.
The coroner's office plans to have forensic anthropologists in Pennsylvania examine the remains.
Police: Ohio infant apparently killed by dogs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say a 3-month-old Ohio girl is dead after she was bitten by the family's dogs.
Police say Mia Gibson was bitten inside the family's Columbus condo Tuesday morning. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Sgt. Steven Little tells The Columbus Dispatch the family's two Shiba Inus didn't appear to have attacked the baby, but rather were playing with her. Little the girl had been on the couch with her father an apparently fell to the floor as her father slept.
Police say the girl had been born prematurely and was brought home from the hospital around Thanksgiving. They're calling her death an accident.
Columbus police say it doesn't appear the parents will be charged county prosecutors will review the case.
$1M bond set for NW Ohio man held in mom's death
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Bond has been set at $1 million for an Ohio man charged with fatally stabbing his mother, found with a hunting knife in her chest and wrapped in a blanket.
Bond was set Tuesday in Toledo Municipal Court for 34-year-old Anthony Bertolina. The judge said a public defender would represent Bertolina and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Dec. 17.
He is charged with murder in the death of his mother, 56-year-old Mary Bertolina. Police found her body Monday in a bedroom of her home after co-workers said she hadn't arrived at her job.
The Blade in Toledo reports the victim was a longtime employee of the newspaper and had recently worked as regional circulation manager.
Ferry deckhand, 82, dies after Ohio River fall
CINCINNATI (AP) - Officials say an 82-year-old deckhand on an Ohio River ferry is dead after falling into the water.
Emergency officials say Virgil Souder, of Hebron, Ky., was not wearing a life jacket when he fell from the deck of the ferry Tuesday afternoon. A tugboat pulled Souder from the water about two miles downriver from Constance, Ky.
Souder was pronounced dead at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Boone County Water Rescue Team Captain Dale Appel says the temperature of the river was in the 40s and hypothermia can set in quickly in such conditions.
DAYCARE WORKER ARREST
Daycare worker indicted in Ohio baby rape case
ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) - A former northern Ohio daycare worker and her boyfriend have been indicted on charges linked to alleged sexual assaults of four children, including a baby.
A grand jury indicted 25-year-old Heather Koon of Elyria (eh-LEER'-ee-uh) on charges including four counts of rape and 12 counts of kidnapping. The indictment for 34-year-old James Osborne, also of Elyria, includes charges of complicity to rape and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.
Authorities have said they found video of an assault on Koon's computer while investigating her boyfriend, a registered sex offender. Prosecutors alleged Koon acted at her boyfriend's request.
Koon has denied the allegation. The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria reports Osborne's attorney said Osborne did not molest the alleged victims.
Both defendants are being held on multimillion-dollar bonds. Arraignments are scheduled Thursday.
DRUG CONVICTION OVERTURNED
Ohio court reverses traffic-stop drug conviction
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) - An appeals court has overturned the drug possession conviction of a northwestern Ohio man who argued a traffic stop violated his state constitutional rights against illegal search and seizure.
Ohio's 6th District Court of Appeals ruled last week that the stop violated state law. The court wrote that a township police officer was outside her jurisdiction in stopping Terrance Brown for a marked lane violation on Interstate 280 in Wood County in 2011. The court says the State Highway Patrol and county sheriffs or their deputies have that jurisdiction.
The court says the drugs seized in the stop should have been excluded from evidence.
Brown was convicted for having oxycodone. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years.
The county prosecutor didn't return a call seeking comment Monday.
BMV CENTER CLOSING
Ohio BMV to close final state-run service site
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Bureau of Motor Vehicles says Ohio's last state-run BMV customer service center will close by next summer, and a new deputy registrar will open elsewhere in Columbus.
The BMV says it will rent space for a privately operated registrar several miles down the road from the service center that is scheduled to close by July 1 in Ohio's capital. The new location is scheduled to be open by then.
BMV Registrar Mike Rankin says the move is expected to save $1 million in costs and add to economic development efforts on the city's west side. The agency says the new site will offer Saturday hours, unlike the center that is closing.
Employees from the service center will still have jobs with the state Department of Public Safety.
Army Corps meets Ohio villagers over levee problem
ZOAR, Ohio (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public input on possible solutions for an Ohio village where the aging levee protecting it from flooding needs repairs.
A public meeting planned Wednesday night in Zoar comes after the agency announced it wouldn't intentionally flood or relocate the village, which is about 65 miles south of Cleveland. Instead, the Army Corps of Engineers decided to focus on options to shore up the levee for the nearly 200-year-old community in Tuscarawas County.
Floodwaters over the years have led to water seepage under the earthen structure that stretches along the edges of Zoar, and the levee is deteriorating.
The Corps says public input is important to help the agency understand the potential effects of the alternative solutions that are being put forth.
TEEN PATIENT-HOSPITAL TOYS
Va. teen collects toys for fellow Ohio patients
CINCINNATI (AP) - A Virginia teen set to have brain surgery in Ohio has collected thousands of toys for patients who will be in the hospital with her at Christmas.
Fourteen-year-old Savannah Day and her sisters decided to collect the toys after the teen learned she would be in Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center on Christmas Day. The Troutville, Va., girl and her family will present hospital staff with more than 4,000 toys Wednesday, including dolls, coloring books and board games.
The collection far surpassed the teen's initial goal to gather 500 toys. The family says they received help from friends, businesses, community members and others around the country.
The girl is scheduled to have surgery Thursday for a malformation that her mother says could result in brain damage if not corrected.
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