Ohio Archives for 2016-01

Drug Store Chain to Increase Heroin Antidote Availability in Ohio

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A drug store chain is set to announce that it will make an antidote for heroin overdoses available at its Ohio stores.
 
Naloxone
 
The Blade newspaper reports that CVS pharmacy officials, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the White House national drug policy director will discuss Monday during a community forum at the University of Toledo how CVS stores will begin carrying naloxone, also known as Narcan.
 
The antidote has becoming increasingly available to the public in recent months as Ohio's heroin and opiate epidemic continues unabated. The drug is administered as an inhaler or with an injection and can reverse the breath suppression effects of opioids.
 
Ohio Department of Public Safety records show that naloxone was administered nearly 13,000 times around the state last year.

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Donations Pour in to Help Ohio Ex-cop Buy His K9 Police Partner

MARIETTA, Ohio (AP) – A retired Ohio police officer wants to purchase his longtime K9 partner but the town says he’s going to have bid for him.
 
K(
 
Recently retired Marietta officer Matt Hickey wants to buy his partner, Ajax. He’s offered to buy the dog for $3,500 – Ajax’s estimated value. But the city says Ajax must be sold at auction because he’s public property.
 
A GoFundMe page set up to help buy Ajax has raised more than $45,000 as of Sunday morning. The page says excess funds will go toward buying protective vests for other K9 officers.
 
Hickey told WBNS-TV he’s had Ajax for three years and that he’s like a family member.
 
Marietta officials say they’ll only allow a police officer, active or retired, or a trainer of police dogs to bid on Ajax.
 

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Ohio Driver Fleeing Traffic Stop Dies in Crash; Officer Injured

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say a driver fleeing a traffic stop in Ohio has been killed after his car rolled over and slid down an embankment.
 
Chillicothe police say the chase began at around 1:30 a.m. Friday after an officer stopped a Pontiac Grand Am for an expired registration. Investigators say when the car stopped, a woman jumped out, and the car took off.
 
Ohio Crash
 
The car traveled about 2 miles before the driver lost control of the vehicle, went into the median and flipped over into an embankment. The dead man hasn't been identified. 
 
One officer suffered minor injuries in the pursuit when his cruiser slid into a guardrail.  
 
Investigators haven't found the woman who got out of the car. 
 
     

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Ohio Chief Justice Having A Panel to Study Grand Jury Changes

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court says a committee will study possible changes to the state's grand jury system.
 
Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor says the panel will recommend ways to improve the functioning of grand juries and steps to boost public confidence in the justice system. Citizens serving on grand juries decide whether felony charges should be brought against a defendant.
 
O'Connor said Wednesday the group isn't exploring whether the system, created by the Ohio Constitution, should be eliminated.
 
A spate of fatal police shootings in recent months led to suggestions that the court replace closed-door grand juries with a public indictment process.
 
Secrecy of grand jury deliberations is among the topics up for review by the Supreme Court committee. The panel's report is due by June 15.
 
 

 

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State Report Says Ohio Liquor Sales Top $1B for First Time

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (AP) - State officials say Ohio set a record for dollar sales of spirituous liquor last year, exceeding $1 billion for the first time.
 
Liquor
 
State alcohol regulators say consumers are looking for "quality over quantity" and buying more premium-priced products than ever before.
 
A state Department of Commerce report released on Tuesday says there were $70 million more in sales than in 2014. That's an increase of more than 7 percent.
 
Overall volume consumption increased last year to 13 million gallons, representing a pace of about 4 percent. 
 
State officials say the numbers suggest Ohioans are "trading up" to more premium brands.
 
 Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey were the top sellers in the Buckeye State.
 

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Ohio Dole Packaging Site Had Proper Procedures Before Listeria Outbreak

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) -- A newspaper says inspection records show that a southwestern Ohio facility that produced packaged salads linked to a listeria outbreak had proper procedures in place in recent years to prevent illness.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week it linked the six-state outbreak to Dole salads this month after Ohio agriculture officials found listeria in a bag bought at a retail location.

 

Dole stopped all production at its Springfield plant and is withdrawing packaged salads on the market that were produced there.

 

The Springfield News-Sun reports a review of Ohio Department of Agriculture inspection reports from the facility from 2011 through last year show that no compliance issues were noted.

 

Records show the last inspection before the closure happened Feb. 5, 2015.

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Jury in Ohio Fails to Reach Verdict in 1982 Killing of Woman

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) -- Jurors couldn't agree on a verdict in the trial of a man arrested last year in the killing of a young woman found dead in a street 33 years ago.

 

The jury spent seven hours considering the evidence Wednesday and insisted they were deadlocked, even when the judge urged them to keep trying.

 

The judge declared a hung jury and deputies took Russell Adkins, 56, of Whitehouse, back to jail. A new court hearing was scheduled for Monday.

 

Adkins was charged in the killing of 19-year-old Dana Rosendale after authorities exhumed her body and ruled her death a homicide due to trauma to her head.

Rosendale died a few days after she was found in a suburban Toledo street in September 1982. The cause of her death was undetermined at the time.

 

Adkins told police he found Rosendale and then later told authorities she had fallen out of his car, according to media reports. He was not charged then.

 

He said he was giving her a ride home from a nightclub when she fell out of his car because of a faulty door latch.

 

A message seeking comment was left with prosecutors Thursday. Attorneys for Adkins declined to comment.

A coroner testified during the trial that injuries to Rosendale's head led her to conclude she had been beaten, and the injuries did not match those of a fall from a moving vehicle.

 

An attorney for Adkins said in closing arguments there was no new evidence in the case, only a new interpretation.

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Ohio Authorities: Boy, 14, Convicted of Raping Girl at Party

LEBANON, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in southwest Ohio say a 14-year-old boy has been found guilty of raping a heavily intoxicated teenage girl at a party when no adults were home.
 
Warren County authorities say the 14-year-old girl was unable to stand without help. They say other boys at the party encouraged the teen who was charged.
 
Authorities say several students went to the party after a Springboro High School football game last September. The teen host's mother was out of town.
 
Authorities say by 2 a.m., the boy led the "extraordinarily intoxicated" girl into the living room and "committed sexual conduct with her" despite her substantially impaired ability to resist or consent.
 
Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Kirby ruled the boy delinquent on a rape charge Tuesday. His sentencing is next Wednesday.
 
 
 
 

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Bill to Add Historic Wright Flyer to Ohio Seal Gets Airing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A proposal to add the historic Wright Flyer to Ohio's state seal has had its first airing.
 
The House State Government Committee heard the bill Wednesday. The idea has been proposed before but it hasn't flown in the past.
 
Wright Flyer
 
It's the latest effort in the Wright brothers' home state to reinforce their place in history as aviation pioneers.
 
Connecticut claimed that a powered flight by another aviator, Gustave Whitehead, pre-dated Orville and Wilbur Wright's 1903 flight off Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, by two years. A resolution cleared Ohio's Legislature last month repudiating that claim. 
 
A 2013 Connecticut law required the governor to proclaim a "Powered Flight Day" in Whitehead's honor. The Ohio resolution rejected the idea that Whitehead ever flew a powered, heavier-than-air machine of his own design.

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Wendy's Investigating 'Unusual Activity' on Payment Cards

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wendy's says it is investigating reports of "unusual activity" on payment cards that had been used at some of its restaurants.

 

Wendys

 

The company says it learned from payment industry contacts this month of reports indicating fraudulent charges may have occurred on cards that had been used legitimately at some of its locations. It says it is has launched an investigation with the help of cybersecurity experts and that it is cooperating with law enforcement officials.

 

"Until this investigation is completed, it is difficult to determine with certainty the nature or scope of any potential incident," the company said.

 

Wendy's Co., based in Dublin, Ohio, encouraged customers to watch for unauthorized charges on their cards.

 

The investigation was first reported by the website KrebsOnSecurity on Wednesday.

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Bill Would Delete 'Mental Retardation' from Ohio Laws

     COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A bill that seeks to delete the term "mental retardation" from the state's laws has cleared the Ohio House.
 
     The measure would replace such references in law with the term "intellectual disability." Along with other changes, the bill would specify that an intellectual disability is a form of developmental disability.
 
Ohio Statehouse
 
     The bill passed Tuesday on a 95-0 vote. 
 
     In 2009, a state law changed the name of the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities to the Department of Developmental Disabilities. The law didn't change other references to mental retardation.
 
     The bill also would change the criteria by which a person could be determined to have a moderate level of intellectual disability and be subject to institutionalization by court order.
 
     The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration.
 
 
 

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Cleveland Cops Fired Over 137-Shot Barrage

AP- Cleveland officials said Tuesday they're firing six police officers involved in a 137-shot barrage that killed two unarmed black people after a high-speed chase.

 

Those officers included Michael Brelo, a patrolman acquitted of manslaughter charges in May for having fired the last 15 shots of the barrage in East Cleveland on Nov. 29, 2012. The chase began when officers standing outside police headquarters mistook the sound of a beat-up Chevrolet Malibu backfiring as a gunshot.

 

Gun Shots

 

Six more officers who fired during the barrage face suspensions ranging from 21 to 30 days, said Public Safety Director Michael McGrath, the former police chief. A total of 13 officers had been notified they faced administrative discipline, and one of them has retired, McGrath said.

 

The president of Cleveland's largest police union, Steve Loomis, vowed to fight the discipline and said grievances appealing the firings were filed with the city Tuesday. He described the firings as unbelievable, unprecedented and politically motivated.

 

"It's tragic that it went down this way, but at the end of the day, two people high on crack cocaine, high on marijuana, one of them intoxicated, made the decisions that they made and we responded to them," Loomis said. "And we responded within our training."

 

The officers had been cited for joining the chase or leaving the city without permission. More seriously, some were accused of endangering other officers by creating or contributing to a crossfire situation.

McGrath said officials reviewed hundreds of pages of related documents and multimedia to reach decisions on discipline.

 

"It was very difficult. ... But at the end of the day, there were general police orders. There are manual rules and regulations that we expect officers to comply with," McGrath said. "If they didn't comply with those particular general police orders or manual rules and regulations, I sustained charges."

 

The high-speed chase involved 62 police cruisers and more than 100 officers. The shooting killed both occupants of the car. Timothy Russell was hit by 24 shots, Malissa Williams by 23.

 

Authorities never learned why Russell didn't stop. He had a criminal record including convictions for receiving stolen property and robbery and had been involved in a previous police pursuit. Williams had convictions for drug-related charges and attempted abduction. Both were described as mentally ill, homeless and addicted to drugs. A crack pipe was found in the car.

 

Of the officers who fired, only Brelo faced criminal charges. Prosecutors said he stood on the vehicle's hood and fired inside repeatedly after the car had stopped and its occupants were no longer a threat.

 

Defense attorneys said the officers involved in the chase and shooting had probable cause to believe the people in the car were a safety threat. Brelo's disciplinary letter cites that and also notes that he fired 49 times, more than double any other officer involved.

Investigators eventually concluded Russell and Williams weren't armed.

 

Loomis said the officers were right to chase the car because Russell fled at a high rate of speed. After the car stopped, the first shots were fired after Russell used the car as a deadly weapon and drove at an officer, Loomis said.

 

The shooting preceded a monthslong U.S. Department of Justice investigation that concluded Cleveland police engaged in a pattern and practice of using excessive force and violating people's civil rights. The city negotiated an agreement to make changes overseen by an independent monitor.

 

It also paid a $3 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by relatives of Russell and Williams.

 

Dorothy Sigelmier, Williams' aunt, told cleveland.com she felt "OK" about the officers' discipline but wished they had ended up in jail. She said she's forgiven them.

 

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Ex-Chief Who Called Criminals 'Mopes' Convicted of 4 Charges

RAVENNA, Ohio (AP) -- A former small-town Ohio police chief who developed an outsize Facebook following for blunt, humorous commentary about the criminals he calls "mopes" has been convicted of four misdemeanors.

 

A Portage County judge on Monday told former Brimfield Township chief David Oliver he's become a mope himself.

 

Mope

 

Oliver was visibly reluctant as he pleaded no contest to counts including attempted theft in office and simple assault involving a female officer who accused him of sexual harassment.

 

Oliver was sentenced to pay court costs and surrender his certificate to be an officer. His attorney blamed small-town politics and said Oliver entered the pleas to get his family closure.

 

The female officer recounted her allegations and told the judge that coming forward cost her more than it has Oliver. Her lawsuit is pending.

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Ohio Water Manager Denies Faking Reports on High Lead Tests

SEBRING, Ohio (AP) -- A water treatment plant manager in Ohio is denying allegations that he falsified reports about high levels of lead and copper being detected in some homes last summer.

 

Ohio's environmental agency is calling for a criminal investigation, saying the operator failed to warn the public about the high lead tests.

 

The agency says it believes the water plant superintendent in Sebring near Youngstown falsified reports.

 

Plant manager James Bates told The Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown that the allegations are a "downright lie." He declined to comment when reached at home by The Associated Press.

 

Officials in Sebring say seven of 20 homes where the water is routinely tested showed high levels of the contaminants.

 

Authorities there are handing out bottled water, and schools are closed again Tuesday.

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Huntington to Buy FirstMerit Creating Largest Bank in Ohio

NEW YORK (AP) -- Huntington Bancshares says it will pay about $3.4 billion to buy rival FirstMerit, creating the largest bank in Ohio.

 

Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares Inc. has more than 750 bank branches across the Midwest. FirstMerit Corp., headquartered in Akron, Ohio, has nearly 370 branches in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

 

Bank Ohio

 

The combined company will have nearly $100 billion in assets and operate in eight states.

 

FirstMerit shareholders will receive 1.72 shares of Huntington stock and $5 in cash for each FirstMerit share they own. Based on Huntington's closing price on Monday, FirstMerit shareholders would receive $20.14 for each share they own.

 

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

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Ohio AG to Ask Lawmakers for Background Check System Funding

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - As he aims to replace Ohio's computerized background check system, Attorney General Mike DeWine is awaiting bids for the job and preparing to ask lawmakers to approve funding for it.

The Columbus Dispatch reports DeWine's office is receiving bids from contractors by Feb. 17 to replace the hardware and software of the system operated by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
 

An investigation by The Dispatch and WBNS-TV had found the fingerprint-based system wrongly indicated that some criminals have clean records.

DeWine's office hired a consultant for nearly $475,000 last year to plan the replacement system. Officials haven't estimated how much it will cost.
 

Spokesman Dan Tierney says officials are seeking funding from lawmakers in the capital appropriations bill to be introduced later this year.

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Ohio Agency Seeks Criminal Probe Into Water Plant Problems

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The head of Ohio's environmental agency is calling for a criminal investigation after the operator of a water treatment plant in northeast Ohio failed to tell the public that high levels of lead and copper had been detected in some homes last summer.

 

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler said in a statement Sunday that officials are "taking steps" to revoke the operating license of the plant operator in Sebring.

 

The statement says the EPA has "reason to suspect" that the operator falsified reports.

 

The water system serves about 8,100 customers in Sebring, about 60 miles southeast of Cleveland.

 

Sebring schools canceled classes Friday and Monday.

The city manager said last week that seven of 20 homes where the water is routinely tested showed the high levels of the contaminants.

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Sheriffs, Police Chiefs Help with Ohio Deadly Force Standards

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state says Ohio sheriffs and police chiefs are on board to help law enforcement agencies statewide comply with first-ever standards for use of deadly force.
 
The standard adopted last year would permit police to use deadly force only when officers are defending themselves or other people from serious injury or death.
 
The Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board also adopted a new statewide standard for police recruiting and hiring.
 
The Department of Public Safety on Friday announced a partnership with the Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police to assist agencies adopting the standards.
 
Agencies must adopt the standards as minimum policies by March 2017 to be included on a list of departments that fully implemented the standards.
 
 

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1 Dead in Listeria Outbreak Linked to Packaged Lettuce From Ohio

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Packaged salads produced at a Dole facility in Ohio are linked to one death in Michigan.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that 12 people in six states have been hospitalized in the outbreak. Salads have been sold under the names Dole, Fresh Selections, Simple Truth, Marketside, The Little Salad Bar and President's Choice. The manufacturing code on the package starts with the letter "A." The CDC says customers should not eat those bags.

 

The CDC says Dole has stopped all production at the Springfield, Ohio, plant and is withdrawing packaged salads on the market that were produced there.

The agency says that the illnesses were in Michigan, New York, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

 

Listeria can cause fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms and can be fatal. It also can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and serious illness or death in newborn babies.

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Ohio Student Held in North Korea, Little Information Released

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Officials in North Korea and the U.S. released little information Friday about a university student from Ohio who detained for what the authoritarian nation called a "hostile act."

 

Otto Warmbier is the second person from southwest Ohio to be detained in North Korea in less than two years. A Dayton-area man was held nearly six months in 2014.

 

North Korea's state media said the University of Virginia student entered the country under the guise of a tourist and plotted against North Korean unity with "the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation." The date of his arrest for allegedly "perpetrating a hostile act" wasn't clear, nor were any details of what he did.

 

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that it was "aware of media reports that a U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea," but had "no further information to share due to privacy considerations."

 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, campaigning in New Hampshire as a Republican presidential candidate, called the arrest "inexcusable." He posted a message to his Twitter account saying the student "should be released & returned immediately."

 

A China-based tour company specializing in travel to North Korea, Young Pioneer Tours, confirmed that one of its customers, identified only as "Otto," had been detained in Pyongyang, the North's capital, but provided no other details.

 

Social media accounts for Warmbier show interests in finance, travel and rap music. He is majoring in economics with a minor in global sustainability and was on the University of Virginia dean's list.

 

"I can tell you he's a very intelligent, wonderful young man," said Jeremy Marcel, a professor at the university's school of commerce.

 

"He's an incredible guy," added Miles Kirwin, who said he was a Theta Chi fraternity brother.

 

Warmbier was a top student at his high school in a northern Cincinnati suburb and was described as a skilled soccer player. Wyoming City Schools spokeswoman Susanna Max said Warmbier was the salutatorian of his 2013 graduating class in the highly rated public high school.

 

The school district "has been in touch with the family of Otto Warmbier and we will have no additional comment at this time," Max said Friday.

 

An attorney who represented Jeffrey Fowle in 2014 advised caution for those involved with the student.

"They (North Korea) kind of trickle information out, but what's actually going on can be very different," said attorney Timothy Tepe of Lebanon, Ohio, adding that he learned that North Korean authorities monitor reports and comments about detainees. "You have to be careful what you say."

 

He said Fowle is "doing wonderful" and seems to have adjusted well to life at his home near Dayton. The married father of three attends church regularly with his family and returned to a job in the city of Moraine's street department, Tepe said.

 

Fowle said in 2014 he had left a Bible in a North Korean nightclub in hopes it would reach underground Christians.

 

North Korea's announcement Friday comes amid a diplomatic push by Washington, Seoul and their allies to slap Pyongyang with tough sanctions for its recent nuclear test. In the past, North Korea has occasionally announced the arrests of foreign detainees in times of tension with the outside world in an apparent attempt to wrest concessions or diplomatic maneuvering room.

North Korea also regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of sending "spies" to overthrow its government to enable the U.S.-backed South Korean government to control the entire Korean Peninsula. Some foreigners previously arrested have read statements of guilt that they later said were coerced.

 

A few thousand Westerners visit North Korea each year, and Pyongyang is pushing for more tourists as a way to help its dismal economy. The U.S. State Department has warned against travel to the North, however, and visitors, especially those from America, who break the country's sometimes murky rules risk detention, arrest and possible jail sentences, although most have eventually been released.

 

Earlier this month, CNN reported that North Korea had detained another U.S. citizen, Kim Dong Chul, on suspicion of spying. North Korea has yet to comment on the report, and the U.S. State Department has said it could not confirm it.

 

North Korea has previously released or deported U.S. detainees after high-profile Americans visited the country. Critics say such trips have provided diplomatic credibility to the North.

 

The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea.

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Justices Side with Landowners on Ohio Drilling Leases

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court has sided with landowners in a long-running legal battle over 700 disputed oil-and-gas leases in southern and eastern Ohio.
 
Shale
 
In a 4-3 decision Thursday, the court ruled Beck Energy Corp.'s leases require the company to begin preparing to drill within 10 years in order to maintain control of the properties. The energy company had argued it needed more time.
 
Thursday's divided decision restores a trial court determination that voided leases for five Monroe County landowners. They argued Beck wrote contract language that allowed the company to sit on the land indefinitely without drilling. Such perpetual leases are against Ohio policy. 
 
Justices reversed an appellate court ruling that upheld the leases as valid.
 
The initial owners declared class action to void leases for additional landowners. 
 

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Funeral Services Set for Slain Ohio Police Officer

 DANVILLE, Ohio (AP) - Funeral services have been set for a police officer who authorities say was killed by a man who set out to find a cop and kill him.
 
Officer Thomas Cottrell's body was found late Sunday behind the village municipal building in Danville, about 60 miles northeast of Columbus. 
 
Danville
 
Police say Herschel Jones III's girlfriend had called 911 to say he had weapons and was looking to kill an officer. Authorities say Jones is in custody and expected to be charged with murder.
 
The Brucker & Kishler Funeral Home website says services for the 34-year-old officer will be 11 a.m. Saturday on the Newark campus of Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College. Plans also call for a color guard, bagpipes and a police escort from the funeral home to the campus.
 
Calling hours are scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday at the funeral home in Newark.
 
Officer Thomas Cottrell's body was found late Sunday behind the village municipal building in Danville, about 60 miles northeast of Columbus. Services for the 34-year-old officer are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday on the Newark campus of Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College. A suspect is in custody. 
 
     
 

 

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You're Welcome, America: Columbus Tops for Making Robocalls

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A voicemail provider says Columbus and central Ohio lead the nation in generating robocalls from bill collectors, politicians and other sources.
 
Statistics from voicemail provider YouMail Inc. show Columbus was the top city for sending out the calls in December, with 68.9 million calls recorded. That outpaced second-place Kansas City's 42.1 million calls. The company tallies which cities send and receive the most robocalls.
 
The Columbus Dispatch reports there are several reasons why Columbus leads the way in annoying people by phone. There are lots of call centers for large financial institutions that handle credit cards for third-party retailers. The area also is home base for a lot of telemarketers.
 
Columbus ranks 26th in receiving such calls. Atlanta was tops last month with 59.8 million calls received. 
     

 

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Critics Say Proposed Ohio EPA Rules Could Harm Wetlands

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Critics of proposed Ohio EPA rules making it easier for companies to get permits to build roads, pipelines or surface coal mines say the changes could harm the state's wetlands and streams. 
 
Wetlands
 
The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1Ognf1F) reports that environmental-advocacy groups say the proposals would allow the Ohio EPA director to approve applications for permits without public review for projects affecting wetlands that otherwise wouldn't qualify.
 
An Ohio EPA spokesman says any negative effect on wetlands would be minimal.
 
The changes affect water quality under a type of federal permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It reduces paperwork and red tape for projects only minimally affecting the environment. But projects with wider impacts on water in Ohio are currently supposed to be reviewed individually before permits are allowed.
 

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Columbus Zoo Puts Name of Polar Bear Cub up For a Vote

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is asking the public to vote on the name of a three-month-old polar bear cub.
 
Voting opened on Tuesday and runs through Feb. 3. 
 
Polar Bear
 
The names up for a vote are Desna, Kaya, Nora, and Sakari. 
 
Desna is an Inuit name meaning "boss." Kaya is a Native American name meaning "little but wise." Nora is a mixture of the cub's parents, Nanuq and Aurora and Sakari is an Inuit name meaning "sweet." 
 
The cub was born on Nov. 6. Her twin died shortly after birth. She has been hand-reared since her mother began neglecting her. 
 
Tom Stalf, president and CEO of the zoo, says they want the vote to raise awareness that the wild polar bear population is becoming "increasingly threatened." 
 
VOTE HERE:
 
   
 

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2 Ohio Lawmakers Plan Listening Tour on Medical Marijuana

 
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Two state lawmakers plan to travel around Ohio gathering public opinion as the Legislature contemplates its next move on medical marijuana.
 
Republican Sen. Dave Burke, of Marysville, and Democratic Sen. Kenny Yuko, of Richmond Heights, on Tuesday announced a series of public forums in Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati and Columbus. They'll hear Ohioans' opinions about making marijuana available for limited medical uses.
 
The forums will kick off Jan. 30 at Cleveland State University. 
 
Ohio voters resoundingly defeated a marijuana proposal last fall that would have legalized marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use. While unsuccessful, the effort made clear that a future question focused on medical marijuana could pass if lawmakers don't act.
 
The senators' effort follows creation of a medical marijuana task force by the Ohio House.
 

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Lawyers for Fired Ohio State Band Director to Remain on Case

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Attorneys for fired Ohio State marching band director Jonathan Waters will continue to defend him until it's determined whether his federal case will go to trial.
 
Attorney David Axelrod told a judge Tuesday he's delaying the request to withdraw as Waters' counsel after university lawyers objected. Waters says he can't meet his financial obligations. 
 
U.S. District Court Judge James Graham said Axelrod's decision serves the cause of justice, since much work has gone into the case. Waters was terminated in 2014 after an investigation concluded he ignored a "sexualized culture" inside the band. 
 
The lawsuit alleges he was a victim of gender discrimination. It cites a similarly-situated female who got a second chance. The university says they weren't similarly situated and it was free to terminate Waters for any reason. 
 
 

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Ohio Concealed-Carry Permit Will Be Invalid in Virginia

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The attorney general's office says Ohio still will recognize concealed-handgun permits issued in Virginia even after that state stops recognizing Ohio's permits on Feb. 1.
 
Authorities said last month that Virginia will stop recognizing the permits from Ohio and 24 other states that have less-stringent gun permit laws. Ohio residents will have to obtain a non-resident license to carry a concealed handgun in Virginia. 
 
Concealed
 
Cleveland.com reports Virginia permits will continue to be valid in Ohio due to a 2014 law requiring the state to automatically recognize such permits from other states with similar license standards.
 
Jim Irvine, president of the Buckeye Firearms Association, says Virginia's new restrictions will also affect gun owners passing through on their way to North Carolina or other east coast states.
 
 

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Family and Cincinnati University Reach $5.3M Deal in Traffic Stop Death

CINCINNATI (AP) - The family of a man shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer who pulled him over for not having a front license plate has reached a $5.3 million settlement with the school.
 
The deal announced Monday gives the family of Samuel DuBose $4.85 million and promises free undergraduate tuition for his 12 children. The agreement also provides for a memorial commemorating DuBose and an apology from the university.
 
The 43-year-old DuBose was shot and killed behind the wheel of his car on July 19 during a traffic stop near campus. Officer Ray Tensing has been charged with murder in DuBose's death.
 
Tensing has pleaded not guilty. His attorney says Tensing feared being dragged under the car as DuBose tried to drive away.
 
 
 

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UPDATE: Ohio Police Officer Found Dead; Suspect in Custody

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (AP) -- A man whose ex-girlfriend reported that he was armed and looking to kill police was in custody suspected in the death of an officer whose body was found behind the municipal building of a small Ohio town, authorities said Monday.

 

The body of Danville Officer Thomas Cottrell was found late Sunday night, about 20 minutes after the ex-girlfriend of Herschel Ray Jones called dispatchers to report that officers in Danville were in danger, Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer said.

 

Shaffer said dispatchers tried to make contact with Cottrell after receiving the tip around 11:20 p.m., but couldn't reach him.

 

The sheriff's office then searched the village and found Cottrell's body, Shaffer said. His service weapon and cruiser were missing.

 

Officials did not immediately say how Cottrell died. But Chief Jim Gilbert, the chief deputy of the Franklin County Sheriff's office, tweeted early Monday: "Prayers for Ohio's first fallen officer for 2016 a Danville PD Officer was shot/killed this evening in Knox County. "

 

Jones was taken into custody around 1:30 a.m. following a short foot chase after he was spotted running from a home in Danville, which is about 60 miles northeast of Columbus.

 

Jones, 32, has a lengthy criminal history and in one case tried to claim he was legally insane, according to court records. Knox County court records show Jones has multiple convictions for breaking and entering, burglary, receiving stolen property and carrying a concealed weapon dating back to 2001. In a 2011 case, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity before changing his plea to guilty.

 

Ohio prison records show Jones served nearly four years for the 2011 convictions on charges of receiving stolen property and possession of chemicals for manufacture of drugs. He was released last April.

The president of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police called Cottrell's killing an assassination.

 

"We ask all Ohioans to pray for peace and healing for Officer Cottrell's family, friends and co-workers," Jay McDonald said in a written statement.

 

"His assassination is the latest reminder of how dangerous police work is and how the police are targeted for violence," McDonald said.

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Once-Homeless Man with Smooth Voice is Back on the Airwaves

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Five years after a homeless man's silky voice won him Internet fame, he's on the air again at the same Ohio radio station where he began his career before addiction pushed him to the streets.

 

Golden Voice

 

The Columbus Dispatch reports the new weekday radio program on WVKO-AM is the first steady employment Ted Williams has had since 1993.

Williams became an online sensation after The Dispatch featured the 58-year-old's golden voice in a video.

 

Williams tells the newspaper he's had ups and downs in the years since the video was published. But he says he's just trying to move forward living with his daughter and his longtime girlfriend.

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Bank Branch Ex-Manager Faces Sentencing for Embezzling

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - A former suburban bank branch manager in southwest Ohio faces sentencing in March for embezzling more than $5 million prosecutors say she used for gambling, sporty cars and motorcycles.
 
scarpelli
 
Amy Scarpelli pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled the money during a four-year span. Prosecutors said the 48-year-old former Miamisburg U.S. Bank branch manager gambled millions of dollars at a casino in Indiana.
 
Prosecutors say the West Carrollton woman also used the money to purchase four cars, six motorcycles, three boats and various properties. They say she used the company's line of credit account. 
 
The Dayton Daily News reports Scarpelli's November sentencing was rescheduled after U.S. Bank Investigations Manager LaToya Hall made allegations that weren't included in court documents.
     ---
     Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com 
 
     
 AP-WF-01-16-16 1455GMT
 

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Attorney General DeWine Warns of Five Top Job Scams

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned about five of the most common scams targeting people looking for jobs or extra income.
 
In 2015, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received more than 150 complaints involving work-at-home or business opportunities, many of which involved potential scams.
 
Scam
 
Some of the most commonly reported scams include:
 
Work-from-home office job. A company hires the applicant to work from home shipping packages, processing payments, completing surveys, or entering data, but the applicant is asked to provide an upfront payment to set up a home office or to purchase software, computers, or other supplies. The job is phony and the applicant will lose any money sent.
 
Mystery shopper. An applicant is selected for a “secret shopper” job. The first assignment is to deposit a check and then wire-transfer a portion of the funds to someone else using the wire-transfer service at a local retail store. In reality, the check the applicant has received is no good, and any money the person sends will be lost.
 
Running a web-based business. In exchange for an upfront fee from the applicant, a company promises to set up a web-based business that will generate income through advertising revenue or products sold online by other businesses. The claims are false and no money will be generated for the applicant.
 
Nanny/caregiver scam. Caregivers go online looking for work opportunities posted on caregiver or classified websites. They find a job and communicate via email or text message with the “client,” who sends a check and asks the caregiver to deposit it, and then send some of the money to a landlord or to purchase supplies related to the position. Despite the “client’s” claims, it’s all a scam.
 
‘Wrap your car in an advertisement.’ A company claims an applicant can make hundreds of dollars per week by wrapping his or her vehicle in an advertisement for an energy drink or other product. The applicant is told to provide payment before the ad can be placed on the vehicle. In truth it’s a scam.
 
“Regardless of the pitch, if you’re asked to send money as part of a job you found online, be very careful,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Con artists are good at what they do, and some pretend to work for legitimate companies in order to make their scams seem real. Before providing any money or personal information, conduct your own independent research. If you suspect a scam, contact my office.”
 
Signs of a job scam include:
 
- Interviews conducted only online or via instant messenger.
 
- Employers who send a check before the work has started.
 
- Upfront payments required from the applicant for a home office or supplies.
 
- Recruiters who claim to work for a large company but use a third-party email account, instead of a company email address.
 
- Employers who ask an applicant to send money via wire transfer or prepaid card.
 
- Offers that seem too good to be true.
 
Consumers can report potential scams to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.

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5 Men Indicted in Large-Scale Northeast Ohio Drug Operation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - A federal grand jury in northeast Ohio has returned a 100-count indictment charging five people with large-scale drug distribution in Youngstown - including to one person who ended up dead from an overdose.
 
The Friday indictment alleges that the five men conspired to traffic heroin and crack cocaine on the streets of Youngstown between July 2013 and July 2015.
 
The indictment includes a sentencing enhancement charging that one of the defendants distributed heroin that directly resulted in an overdose death in Youngstown last July.
 
U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach says the men "spread misery throughout the Mahoning Valley in the name of profit." 
 
The arrests came after a two-year investigation involving multiple agencies.

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Cleveland Dodging Payment on $19M in Settlements Concerning Police Misconduct

CLEVELAND (AP) -- David Ayers says he feared for his life during the nearly 12 years he spent in a prison for a murder that evidence showed he didn't commit.

 

The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals voided Ayers' conviction in 2010, and he was freed nearly a year later. A federal court jury in 2013 awarded him $13.2 million, a verdict upheld by the appeals court.

 

Ohio Lawsuits

 

But Ayers hasn't received a dime, and it's unclear if he will.

 

Cleveland says it owes him nothing and the judgment was against the two homicide detectives who helped convict him, not the city. It further argues the judgment was erased in a bankruptcy filed by one of the detectives.

 

It appears Cleveland is planning a similar strategy over a $5.5 million verdict returned in September against a police officer who fatally shot Kenny Smith outside a nightclub in 2012. That verdict has been appealed, but the city in November hired a bankruptcy attorney for the officer.

 

Attorneys for Ayers' and Smith's families say they're outraged by the practice. They say Ohio law requires municipalities to pay judgments for employees sued for acts committed during their employment.

 

Ruth Brown, one of Ayers' Chicago-based attorneys, calls the strategy unprecedented and a "blatant dodge."

"Nobody's ever heard of anything like this," Brown said.

 

Terry Gilbert, an attorney for Smith's family, said the city is required to indemnify employees who have judgments filed against them.

 

"They're desperate to find a way not to pay these verdicts and are engaging in legal shenanigans," Gilbert said.

 

Cleveland said it "does not have a policy of avoiding the payment of its legal obligations, including judgments." It said the judgments were against individual police officers, not the city. It said in a statement Friday it has no obligation to pay Ayers after being dismissed from his lawsuit.

 

While Cleveland has been hailed as a comeback city on the rise, it's also under pressure to fix a troubled police department that has cost the city millions of dollars in judgments and settlements of lawsuits for abusive behavior by officers. Cleveland paid a total of $3 million in 2014 to the families of two unarmed people killed in a 137-shot barrage of police gunfire.

 

A jury convicted Ayers of aggravated murder in December 2000 in the slaying of a woman at an apartment complex for the elderly where he worked as a security guard. The conviction was based primarily on the testimony of the detectives and a jailhouse informant who said Ayers confessed.

 

Ayers refused to accept two plea deals offered by prosecutors. Instead, he went to trial and was sentenced to life. He was exonerated after it was learned hairs found on the victim's body didn't belong to him, detectives fed information to the jailhouse snitch and authorities failed to check surveillance camera footage that would have corroborated his story about his whereabouts.

 

Ayers, 58, said he feared for his life every day in prison.

"They put me away and took away 11 years of life for something I'm completely innocent of," he said. "I think they should stop and pay me my money."

 

Smith was shot once in the head by off-duty police officer Roger Jones. The officer told investigators he shot Smith when Smith reached for a handgun in a car. He said Smith got out of the car after he was shot and took several steps before collapsing.

 

A witness testified during the federal civil trial Smith was outside the car and was lowering himself to the ground when Jones shot him. A medical examiner testified Smith was immediately incapacitated and couldn't have taken any steps.

 

Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty called Jones a hero after a grand jury cleared him of charges. After the $5.5 million jury verdict, McGinty said his office would re-examine the shooting.

 

A law professor at Case Western Reserve University said he's puzzled by Cleveland's efforts not to pay judgments. Professor Jonathan Entin said the bankruptcy strategy might prove successful but is an argument cities shouldn't make.

 

He said Ayers deserves to be compensated for the years he wrongfully spent in prison because of "egregious conduct" by police.

 

"This basically says to everybody who lives in the city, who works in the city and who comes to the city that we don't care about what happens to you," Entin said. "If we treat you really badly, too bad. It's your tough luck."

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Over 12,000 Deer Checked in Ohio's Muzzleloader Season

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - More than 12,000 white-tailed deer were checked by hunters during Ohio's muzzleloader season for a decrease of more than 1,000 from last year.  
 
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said 12,505 deer were checked in the season that ran from Jan. 9 through Jan. 12 compared with 13,724 deer last year.
 
Deer Hunting
 
Department officials say bag limits were reduced and antlerless-permit use was eliminated in most counties to help stabilize deer populations for the 2015-2016. They say hunting is the most effective management tool for maintaining a healthy deer population in Ohio. 
 
State wildlife officials are revising Ohio's deer population goals and have asked hunters for their input in a random survey. 
 
Hunters also still have opportunities to pursue deer this winter. Ohio's archery season remains open through Feb. 7.
 

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Attorney General DeWine Introduces Online Student Loan Resource Center

 

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has developed a comprehensive online Student Loan Center to help prospective, current, and former college students understand and manage student loans.  

 

The Attorney General’s Student Loan Center, available at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/StudentLoans, contains information and resources to explore careers, choose a school, apply for student loans, and repay loans.

 

“For many Ohioans, getting an education requires taking out loans,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Student loans can help Ohioans get the education they need to reach their full potential, but far too often students leave school with substantial amounts of debt. The Attorney General’s Student Loan Center provides resources and tools to help consumers make smart borrowing decisions.”

 

According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owe more than $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, growing at a rate of more than $2,700 a second. Ohioans are not immune from this national trend, graduating with an average of $29,090 in student loan debt.

 

For most students, taking out student loans or applying for scholarships begins with filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available in January each year.

 

The Attorney General’s Student Loan Center provides tips on how to reduce the cost of attending college. The site also offers two calculators to help students budget their expenses and plan their loan repayment.

 

For more information, students should visit the Attorney General’s Student Loan Center at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/StudentLoans.

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US EPA Chief Touts Clean Energy Amid Pushback from Ohio and Other States

PERRYSBURG, Ohio (AP) - The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Ohio and other states that are pushing back against clean energy are missing a chance to add jobs.
 
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says moving toward solar and wind energy is good for the environment and the economy.
 
Wind Power
 
McCarthy on Thursday toured a solar plant near Toledo where she says 6,000 people in the region work in the solar industry.
 
McCarthy says that's proof clean energy is growing the economy.
 
Ohio is one of two dozen states challenging President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan. Attorney General Mike DeWine says the plan would dramatically increase electric rates and make service less reliable.
 
Ohio also has put a freeze on government requirements meant to boost solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy. 
 
 
 
 

 

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Ohio House Leaders Name Task force on Medical Marijuana

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio House leaders have named a task force of state lawmakers, business group leaders, law enforcement groups and others to study the issue of medical marijuana.
 
In announcing the panel, House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger said Thursday the group's goal is to take a holistic approach to studying the issue. 
 
State lawmakers have been examining potential legislative steps to address medical marijuana after voters rejected a broad ballot initiative this past November. That proposal sought to legalize pot for medical and recreational use.
 
Rosenberger, a Clarksville Republican, said the initiative sparked debate on whether medical marijuana should be banned.
 
Polls suggest Ohio voters back legalized medical marijuana.
 
Task force members include former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery, Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz (loots) and advocates for medical marijuana.
 

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Ohio House Explosion Dad Threatened to Kill Himself

NORTHFIELD, Ohio (AP) - A police report says an Ohio man who died in a house explosion and fire along with his wife and two daughters had threatened to kill himself just over a month ago.
 
The report released Thursday follows a medical examiner's statement that murder-suicide is one of the possibilities being looked at in the Monday night explosion that shook homes in a neighborhood near Cleveland.
 
Ohio House Explosion
 
The state fire marshal's office has said investigators determined arson was the cause. 
 
Authorities say Jeffrey and Cynthia Mather were killed, along with their daughters, 8-year-old Ruthie and 12-year-old Alyson.
 
A report says officers with the Cleveland Metroparks found Jeffrey Mather with a loaded shotgun on Dec. 2.
 
One officer said Mather told him he was depressed and wanted to end it all.
 
 

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Ohio Man Who Recorded Fatal Accident Scene Sentenced to Jail

LORAIN, Ohio (AP) - A northern Ohio man who recorded grisly cellphone video of a car crash that killed one teenager and critically injured another has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.
 
Pelton
 
The judge who sentenced 41-year-old Paul Pelton on Wednesday for vehicle trespass and disorderly conduct says he wishes he could've gone beyond the maximum penalty.
 
Prosecutors say Pelton opened a door of the wrecked vehicle to continue recording while others tried to help the two teens. Police said Pelton can be heard on the video calling the teens "idiots."
 
Pelton's attorneys said in court that he only opened the door because another bystander asked what was in the backseat.
 
One defense attorney says Pelton realizes what he did was insensitive but added that it doesn't make him a criminal.

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Lawsuit in Ohio Challenges 'In God We Trust' Use on US Money

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A California attorney who unsuccessfully sued the government at least twice challenging the use of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance has filed a federal lawsuit in Ohio challenging a similar phrase on U.S. currency and coins.

 

In God We Trust

 

Sacramento attorney Michael Newdow filed the lawsuit Monday in Akron. The lawsuit argues the phrase "In God We Trust" on U.S. money is unconstitutional and violates separation of church and state. The lawsuit wants the phrase prohibited from use on money.

 

The lawsuit represents 41 plaintiffs from Ohio and Michigan, including many unnamed parents and children who are atheists or are being raised as atheists. Defendants include Congress and various federal agencies.

 

A message seeking comment was left Wednesday at the office of U.S. attorney for Ohio's northern district.

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