BODY IN CORNFIELD
Police: Farmer finds body in NE Ohio cornfield
ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) - Police say a body found in a northern Ohio cornfield is that of an adult, but they were awaiting an autopsy before releasing more information.
The Chronicle-Telegram reports a farmer plowing the field found the body Wednesday in Elyria (eh-LEER'-ee-uh), a little over 25 miles west of Cleveland.
Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino says it appears the body had been there for some time.
Police didn't immediately release other details, including the sex of person who died. The body was removed by the Lorain County coroner's office.
Coroner confirms dog bites killed Ohio infant
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A coroner concludes that dog bites caused internal injuries that led to the death of a 3-month-old central Ohio girl.
Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak tells Columbus media outlets that an autopsy confirmed dog bites caused the girl's death Tuesday morning.
Police say Mia Gibson was bitten by her family's dogs inside their Columbus condo. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Police Sgt. Steven Little told The Columbus Dispatch it seemed to be an accident. He said it appeared the family's two Shiba Inus didn't attack the baby, but rather were playing with her.
Police say the girl had been on the couch with her father and apparently fell to the floor as he slept.
The newspaper says animal control officials are holding the dogs for now.
Ohio court weighs death sentence for killer of 3
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Supreme Court has heard 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 heard arguments Wednesday in Columbus, with a decision to follow in several weeks.
Voter data-sharing proposal heads to Ohio governor
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio bill aimed at bolstering the battleground state's voter registration database is headed to the governor's desk.
The measure passed the House on a 60-33 vote Wednesday. It requires state agencies to share data with the secretary of state to help maintain Ohio's voter records. The proposal also reduces the minimum number of electronic voting machines a county must have.
The Ohio Association of Election Officials supports the bill. Minority House Democrats opposed it.
A spokesman for Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO'-sted) says the proposal is a missed opportunity to also let residents register to vote online. Currently, voters can only update their addresses over the Internet.
Wednesday is the last day the House expects to be in session this year. Senators already wrapped up their work.
TEEN PATIENT-HOSPITAL TOYS
Teen amasses toys for other Ohio hospital patients
CINCINNATI (AP) - A 14-year-old Virginia girl preparing to have brain surgery in Ohio has donated more than 4,000 toys that she collected for other patients who will be in the hospital with her at Christmas.
Savannah Day and her family presented the toys to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center on Wednesday. Friends and hospital officials applauded the Troutville, Va., girl and her two sisters, who were surrounded by many of the games, dolls and other toys they collected.
Officials say the toys will be distributed starting this week. They say the donations will provide toys for children at the hospital beyond the Christmas season.
Savannah is scheduled to have surgery Thursday for a brain malformation that her family says could result in brain damage if not corrected.
Ohio ex-teacher gets 2-year sentence on sex charge
CINCINNATI (AP) - A former high school teacher in southwest Ohio has been sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted on a sexual battery charge alleging that she had sex with a 16-year-old student.
Hamilton County Judge Norbert Nadel (NAY'-dul) told 37-year-old Julie Hautzenroeder (HAHT'-zin-roh-dur) on Wednesday that she violated a position of trust and authority. Last month, a jury convicted her on one of two counts alleging that she had sex at her home with sophomore students from Colerain (KOHL'-ur-ayn) High School. She was acquitted on the second count.
Defense attorney Stew Mathews says the judge's sentence had been expected. He says the conviction will be appealed.
The judge gave Hautzenroeder until Jan. 13 to begin her sentence. She also must register as a sex offender.
DRUGS AND GUNS-CHARGES
22 charged with drug, gun crimes in central Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say 22 people have been charged with drug trafficking and gun crimes in a central Ohio investigation.
State and federal investigators say the defendants are alleged members of a gang that has operated in a neighborhood north of downtown Columbus for two decades.
David DeVillers, assistant U.S. attorney in Columbus, says some alleged members of the Short North Posse are relatives of original gang members from the 1990s, including sons and daughters.
The defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine, oxycodone, crack cocaine and marijuana. The federal indictments announced Wednesday also charge defendants with illegal possession of firearms, illegal travel to support racketeering and money laundering.
Several of the defendants were in custody Wednesday.
Columbus, Franklin County and federal authorities say the indictments cap a yearlong investigation.
NE Ohio sheriff removed from office is reappointed
CANTON, Ohio (AP) - A northeast Ohio sheriff who was removed from office in November because he didn't have the required experience has been reappointed to the job by the Stark County Democratic Central Committee.
Local party leaders had first selected George Maier (MEYE'-er) in February, when the county sheriff's job was vacant because the elected Democrat was sick. The Repository in Canton reports Maier was chosen again Wednesday, receiving 101 votes to Lt. Louis Darrow's 65.
Darrow had been runner-up in the first vote. He and interim Sheriff Timothy Swanson had asked the Ohio Supreme Court to compel Darrow's appointment as sheriff in Canton.
The newspaper says Swanson has indicated he will again sue Maier and challenge the appointee's qualifications before the Ohio Supreme Court.
NEW AREA CODE
Ohio panel opts to add 220 area code to 740 region
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Regulators have approved a plan to use a new 220 area code in parts of Ohio now covered by the 740 area code, which is expected to run out of numbers in 2015.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved a plan Wednesday to let current 740 customers keep that area code on existing phone lines. The new 220 area code will be assigned for new numbers in parts of central and southeast Ohio.
Customers in the affected regions will have to use 10-digit dialing, including area codes, for local calls starting in March 2015.
The chairman of the utilities commission says the plan to use two area codes in the same region was fairer and less disruptive than splitting the region geographically into two parts with different area codes.
DRIVING-MOVE OVER LAW
Ohio lawmakers OK 'Move Over' measure for drivers
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A bill passed by Ohio lawmakers would require drivers approaching construction and maintenance vehicles to slow down and shift lanes if possible, as they're already required to do when nearing emergency vehicles on the roadside.
The House passed the updated "Move Over Law" on Wednesday, sending it to the governor for consideration. It would apply when motorists approach construction, maintenance and public utilities commission vehicles parked on the side of the road with their alert lights turned on.
The directors of the state Department of Transportation and the Ohio Turnpike say the measure would boost safety for roadway workers.
The Department of Transportation says motorists have had more than 600 collisions with its vehicles and equipment since 2008. In one case last April, a 27-year-old employee was killed.
Group wants Columbus arena payment issue on ballot
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A group wants Columbus residents to vote on whether the city should be paying for its professional hockey team's home arena, and it has collected enough signatures to get the issue on the May ballot.
That means voters will be asked whether to end the city's purchase contract for Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Columbus Dispatch reports elections officials confirmed the citizens group collected more than the roughly 5,000 verified signatures needed to put the initiative on the ballot.
The president of the group says it doesn't object to the arena but thinks the public should have had a say in the purchase agreement. The city and county agreed in 2011 to use casino tax revenue to buy and maintain the facility for decades.
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