Fatal Ohio fire being called suspicious
SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) - A fatal house fire in northern Ohio is being labeled suspicious by authorities.
Police in Sandusky say a body was found in the basement of the home after the blaze Tuesday night.
Sandusky police Lt. Robert Vanscoy told reporters that the adult victim is believed to have lived at the home, but the person's name hasn't been released.
Firefighters found the two-story, wood-frame home engulfed in flames when they arrived just before 8:30 p.m.
The body was taken to the coroner's office for an autopsy.
BODY UNDER PORCH
Woman to testify against husband in Ohio slaying
ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - A prosecutor says the wife of a man charged with killing his father in southeastern Ohio has agreed to testify against her husband.
The Athens County prosecutor says 37-year-old Rhonda Degarmore, of Glouster, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Athens to felony charges of theft, receiving stolen property and obstructing justice and agreed to testify against husband Paul J. Roberts.
Roberts has pleaded not guilty to charges including aggravated murder in his father's death. Prosecutor Keller Blackburn says Roberts hit his father in the head with a pipe in October and dumped the body beneath his father's porch in Glouster, about 15 miles north of Athens.
Blackburn says Degarmore could have been sentenced to more than five years, but received four years and 11 months.
Degarmore's attorney didn't immediately return calls Wednesday.
Key vote set for future of Cincinnati streetcar
CINCINNATI (AP) - A meeting that could signal the end of Cincinnati's streetcar has begun with passionate comments from the public.
Residents, mostly in support of the streetcar, filled city hall to tell Cincinnati's new mayor and city council how they feel about the $133 million project.
It was the third day in a row that the council has listened to public comments about the streetcar following their swearing-in on Sunday.
They're expected to vote later Wednesday whether to immediately halt spending on the streetcar.
The streetcar line has been under construction for months at a cost of more than $23 million and counting.
Critics say it's just too expensive. Supporters say the project is too far along to stop now and that it will be an economic boon.
TEEN'S 1984 DEATH-CHARGE
New death penalty count in 1984 Cleveland slaying
CLEVELAND (AP) - A Cleveland man accused in the 1984 killing of a 14-year-old girl faces the possibility of the death penalty in a new indictment returned against him.
A Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County grand jury returned the new aggravated murder, rape and kidnapping indictment against 58-year-old Hernandez Warren on Wednesday.
Investigators say DNA evidence linked Warren to the killing of Gloria Pointer. She went missing while walking to school in Cleveland.
Authorities say Warren lived in the same neighborhood as Pointer.
Prosecutor Timothy McGinty says the death-penalty specification was added after a review committee examined a crime that he says has haunted the community for decades.
There was no immediate comment from the attorney who handled his case under the original indictment when Warren pleaded not guilty.
GOVERNOR 2014-TAX LIENS
Dem vying for Ohio lt. gov vows to stay on ticket
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A Democrat vying to be Ohio's lieutenant governor has detailed for reporters roughly $700,000 in outstanding state and federal tax liens owed by him, his wife and their Cincinnati business.
In a nearly two-hour media teleconference Wednesday, state Sen. Eric Kearney (KUHR'-nee) vowed the debts would not force him from the 2014 statewide ticket alongside Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County Executive Ed FitzGerald.
Kearney blamed the debts largely on a downturn in the newspaper industry that has affected KGL Media, a publisher of black publications including the Cincinnati Herald. He said they are steadily being paid down.
Successive revelations about Kearney's finances have complicated his party's hopes of unseating Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) next year.
Kearney said the debts aren't a disqualifier and will be familiar to many Ohio voters.
RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGETS
Vote on divisive Ohio energy bill delayed again
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A proposal to adjust Ohio's renewable energy and efficiency mandates has stalled for a second time amid opposition from environmental and consumer interests and some majority Republican lawmakers.
Senate Public Utilities Chairman Bill Seitz (syts), who sponsored the measure, cancelled a scheduled committee vote Wednesday, signaling an uncertain fate for the sweeping bill.
Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, had made significant revisions to the bill after it stalled before Thanksgiving in hopes of lining up needed support. That included removing a provision that would have allowed power companies to opt out of meeting some state alternative energy requirements.
State and national advocacy groups struck out against the measure, saying it would harm Ohio's budding renewables industry, hike electric bills and favor politically generous utility executives over average consumers.
CRACK COCAINE SENTENCING
Court: Reduced crack sentences not retroactive
CINCINNATI (AP) - An appeals court has found that thousands of prisoners convicted of crack cocaine offenses aren't eligible for reduced penalties if they were sentenced before 2010.
That's when Congress passed a law to eliminate sentencing disparities that disproportionately affected offenders who were black.
In its Tuesday decision, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati vacated a May decision from a three-judge panel of the court that found prisoners convicted under the old guidelines have a right to resentencing hearings.
In Tuesday's deeply divided decision, 10 of the court's judges disagreed, saying Congress didn't mean for the law to apply retroactively.
Seven judges dissented, with one justice writing that the majority opinion "continues to treat African-American offenders more harshly than white offenders, despite Congress' aim to the contrary."
SCHOOL LOCKED DOWN-ARRAIGNMENT
Ohio teen arrested after standoff faces felonies
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A 14-year-old Ohio student who triggered a lockdown and police standoff after he allegedly flashed a pellet gun at school has been charged as a juvenile with two felonies.
WTOL-TV reports that the student was arraigned Tuesday in Toledo on charges of making terroristic threats and illegal conveyance.
Lucas County Juvenile Prosecutor Lori Olender says the student won't be charged as an adult because he has no criminal record. Details of his legal representation weren't available.
Scott High School was on lockdown for more than an hour Monday after police say the student pulled a pellet gun that looked like a real firearm.
A student who was in the room said the boy was first kicked out of class and sent to a room for students serving in-school suspensions.
Ohio city council opposes injection well
ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - A city council in southeastern Ohio is the second public body to oppose a proposed well for gas-drilling wastewater in the region.
Citing public health concerns, the Athens City Council voted to support the county commission's objection to the proposed injection well in Troy Township southeast of the city.
The Athens Messenger reports that county commissioners sent a letter in September to the state asking for a public hearing on the application by K&H Partners. The letter called it a "highly deficient application that will not prevent pollution of land, surface water and drinking water sources."
The city council voted unanimously Monday night to support the commissioners' objection.
The state says there is no evidence the proposed well would be unsafe.
Nov. sales up for Ohio-built Chevy Cruze
LORDSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - General Motors says sales of the Ohio-built Chevrolet Cruze were up last month.
GM said Tuesday that Cruze sales were up by 8.3 percent in November, snapping it out of three-month slide. The compact car is built at a plant in Lordstown, near Youngtown.
It was best November sales ever for the Cruze. GM said 18,200 units were sold last month, compared with 16,807 in November 2012.
The Vindicator reports that Tuesday's positive report broke a streak of declining year-over-year sales. In September, Cruze sales dropped 50 percent from the same period last year, signaling an all-time low in the vehicle's sales.
But the Cruze has had a good year of sales overall. It's still Chevrolet's second-best selling model behind the Silverado pickup truck.
Ohio school spending more on diversity effort
CINCINNATI (AP) - The University of Cincinnati is pumping more money into efforts to increase diversity, as some black students raise concerns about race relations on the urban campus.
UC this week announced $440,000 in new annual investments to promote and support diversity in the student population. That money will go to scholarships for women and students of color.
The school says other new investments focused on recruiting, retaining and graduating a diverse population will be coming in the weeks ahead.
Some black students have complained about the racial atmosphere in the aftermath last month of the resignation of the Arts & Sciences dean, a leading black academic official at the school. A racially offensive cartoon had circulated on campus amid criticism of the dean.
Blacks comprise 8.2 percent of UC undergraduate students.
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