News Minute: Here is the latest Ohio news from The Associated Press at 5:40 p.m. EST
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A convicted killer in an Ohio prison claims in a federal lawsuit that his civil rights have been violated by the repeated cutting of his dreadlocks. The lawsuit filed on behalf of inmate Cecil Koger says his faith of Rastafarianism requires him to wear his hair in dreadlocks. The lawsuit filed last week says the prison has forcibly cut his hair five times, impeding his ability to practice his religion. The Ohio prisons system declined comment on the lawsuit.
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Ahead of Black Friday, researchers are expecting a modest 2 percent increase in Ohio holiday retail spending. The annual forecast from the University of Cincinnati Economics Center says that overall Ohio's wages continue to grow and consumer confidence is still strong. Sales outlooks are expected to increase most in the Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo regions.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The chief of staff to Ohio Senate majority Republicans says he's stepping down but the move is unrelated to allegations of inappropriate conduct roiling the chamber. Jason Mauk tells The Associated Press his last day will be Dec. 1. A GOP state senator resigned last month after a female state employee complained the senator engaged in inappropriate conversations and physical contact with her, and the Senate Democrats' chief of staff resigned this month over inappropriate behavior.
HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio homeowner charged in a 2015 arson that led to a firefighter's death has testified he did not set fire to his house or hire anyone else to do it. Lester Parker testified Monday at his trial in southwestern Ohio's Butler County. Prosecutors say Parker solicited his nephew to set the fire to collect insurance money. The men have pleaded not guilty to murder and arson charges.
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