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This Hour: Latest Ohio news, sports, business and entertainment

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US citizen accused of bribes extradited from Iraq

CINCINNATI (AP) - A fugitive accused of bribing U.S. military contracting officials in Iraq has been returned to the U.S. in what government officials say is the first extradition under a 1936 treaty between the countries.

Metin Atilan (meh-TEEN' AH'-tuh-lahn) pleaded not guilty Monday to contract and wire fraud in federal court in Dayton, Ohio. He was extradited from Iraq on Sunday.

Atilan is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Turkey and had businesses that did work in Iraq for U.S. military operations.

He was arrested in 2008 in Las Vegas, where he was based. He was ordered to appear in an Ohio courtroom after being placed on electronic monitoring. Prosecutors say he then fled to Turkey. He was arrested last year in Iraq.


Ohio won't investigate Cedar Point ride accident

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's amusement ride inspectors won't be conducting an official investigation into an accident that injured two people when a cable snapped on a swing ride at Cedar Point.

That's because the state investigates accidents only when someone is admitted to a hospital or stays overnight.

Cedar Point says the Skyhawk ride will remain closed until the park's investigation into the cause is completed. Two people were hurt Saturday night when a cable disconnected on the ride that swings up to 125 feet in the air.

A Department of Agriculture spokeswoman says state ride inspectors will be at the park in Sandusky later this week to meet with Cedar Point officials and the ride's manufacturer.

The inspectors also will need to sign off on the ride before it can reopen.


Ohio lawmakers want Common Core standards repealed

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Republican lawmakers in the Ohio House are beginning a push to repeal Common Core learning standards by year's end, citing widespread discontent they're hearing from parents, teachers and communities.

Reps. Matt Huffman of Lima (LY'-muh) and Andy Thompson of Marietta said Monday that Ohio made a mistake four years ago in pursuing the standards and their legislation would seize back state control over the process.

It's unclear whether the bill could pass. Districts already are well on their way to implementing the standards, which have the backing of a diverse coalition including teachers' unions and community and business groups.

Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper says a repeal would create chaos for school districts. She says some large urban districts have spent two years preparing for the launch.


Ex-mentor at center gets 44 years for sexual abuse

CLEVELAND (AP) - A worker from a now-closed residential treatment center has been sentenced to 44 years in prison for sexually abusing two teenage girls who lived at the northeast Ohio facility where she was a strength coach and mentor.

At a sentencing hearing Monday, the judge called 34-year-old Cassondra Goodson a predator. Goodson is from the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights.

Prosecutors say she began having sex with two girls when the teens were 13 and 15. Goodson pleaded guilty last month to six counts of sexual battery and five counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Goodson's attorney did not return telephone calls.

The Cleveland diocese's Catholic Charities converted the residential facility for troubled teens into an outpatient center earlier this year.


1 of 2 Ohio plane crash victims not yet identified

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in northwest Ohio are still trying to identify one of two people killed in a weekend plane crash.

One of the victims in the crash near Findlay was the CEO of an Ohio manufacturing company. A coroner was trying to identify the remains of a woman killed in the crash, but the Hancock County Sheriff's Office says DNA testing may be needed.

Deputies say Ralf Bronnenmeier, CEO of Grob Systems in Bluffton, was piloting the single-engine plane that crashed early Sunday morning into a ditch and just missed hitting an empty trailer.

Authorities say the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have launched investigations.

Media reports said the plane was traveling from Holland, Michigan, to Bluffton, which is near Findlay.


Hearing postponed for indicted Ohio legislator

CINCINNATI (AP) - A pretrial hearing has been postponed for a southwest Ohio lawmaker accused of misleading investors about a company's financial status and using their money for personal gain.

The hearing for state Rep. Pete Beck was delayed Monday after a scheduling conflict in the courtroom of Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge John Andrew West. It was not immediately rescheduled.

Beck's trial is set for November.

Beck has pleaded not guilty to felony theft and securities fraud charges. A former business partner has agreed to testify against Beck as part of a plea agreement.

The 61-year-old accountant from the Cincinnati suburb of Mason has denied the allegations through attorneys. Beck lost his chances for re-election after being defeated in in this year's Republican primary, but he has rejected calls for his resignation.


Expansion to add 214 auto-parts jobs in Ohio

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) - Expansion of an auto-parts manufacturing operation is expected to add 214 jobs in the southwest Ohio city of Hamilton.

ThyssenKrupp Bilstein (THIS'-en-kruhp bil-STEYEN') of America Inc. already employs 381 people in Butler County. The unit of a German company makes high-end shock absorbers in Hamilton.

The latest $27 million capital investment will add 60,000 square feet to the operations.

The private job-creation agency JobsOhio, the Regional Economic Development Initiative of Cincinnati, and the city of Hamilton worked together on economic incentives for the company.

REDI Cincinnati also announced approval of an expansion project by Sugar Creek Packing Company. It is expected to total $2 million in capital investment and 58 new jobs in the northern Cincinnati suburb of West Chester.


Aide sentenced for raping 92-year-old Ohio woman

CINCINNATI (AP) - A former Cincinnati nursing home aide convicted of raping a bed-ridden 92-year-old resident has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

A prosecutor's spokesman says a Hamilton County judge sentenced 22-year-old Samuel Onyenweaku on Monday. The West Chester man was convicted earlier of rape, felonious assault and patient abuse.

Authorities said he raped a woman in her bed at the Amber Park assisted living facility in November. They say the victim was a widow and former school teacher who was bed-ridden and unable to communicate.

Authorities say a nursing supervisor discovered the crime. The victim died in February from an unrelated condition.

The prosecutor's office says the defendant could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. His attorney didn't immediately return a call to his office Monday.


Drug trafficking suspect to be extradited to Ohio

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) - A prosecutor says a former Detroit police officer accused of leading a drug ring has waived extradition and will be sent from Georgia to Ohio in the next few days.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn in southeast Ohio says Brandon Allen of Detroit was arrested at the Atlanta airport last week on suspicion of trying to leave the country.

Blackburn said Monday that Allen is accused of orchestrating a $3 million drug ring selling illegal prescription painkillers in southeastern Ohio.

The prosecutor says the investigation into Allen followed the arrest of eight people in May for their alleged involvement in a drug pipeline running from Athens through Columbus to Detroit.

A grand jury indicted Allen on multiple drug trafficking charges Friday. A message was left with his attorney.


Man accused in teen's beating death goes on trial

LEBANON, Ohio (AP) - A man accused of fatally beating a 16-year-old boy who was then left at a southwest Ohio hospital has gone on trial on charges including aggravated murder.

Court officials say jurors were selected Monday in a Warren County court for the trial of 40-year-old Michael Watson of Franklin. Watson also is charged with kidnapping, aggravated robbery, rape and tampering with evidence.

Authorities say Watson and another man fatally beat 16-year-old Dione Payne, of Dayton, in an attempt to steal drugs and money from him in Franklin. Payne was left at a hospital Dec. 1 and died.

Watson could be sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted of aggravated murder.

Court officials say the other defendant, Michael Geldrich, pleaded guilty to charges including aggravated murder. He'll be sentenced later.


Ohio agency seeks approval to replace Smokey Bear

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - State officials want to replace the 55-year-old Smokey Bear figure that greets visitors by name at the Ohio State Fair.

The Department of Natural Resources must first get approval from the state Controlling Board to spend $80,250 for a new bear. The agency plans to pay for it with a federal grant.

The board planned to vote on the spending request Monday, but a department spokesman said the item was pulled from the day's discussion after panel members had questions about the project.

The current Smokey has promoted the prevention of forest fires at the state fairgrounds since 1959. The agency says the 14 1/2-foot figure is in poor condition.

The department picked LifeFormations Inc. in Cincinnati to build the new Smokey, which is expected to have more automated functions.


Presbyterian Church named in abuse lawsuit

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A minister is taking his own denomination to task, claiming in a lawsuit that the Presbyterian Church was partly responsible for sexual abuse he suffered as a teenager.

The Rev. Kris Schondelmeyer, a 31-year-old youth minister in Toledo, Ohio, is seeking unspecified damages in a lawsuit whose defendants include the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the First Presbyterian Church of Fulton, Missouri, and his alleged abuser, Jack Wayne Rogers.

Schondelmeyer says he was sexually abused at a youth conference in Maryland in 2000. The suit claims Rogers was a lay minister allowed to chaperone despite a 1992 child pornography conviction.

An attorney for the denomination declined comment.

Rogers has a long criminal history and is housed in a federal prison on child porn and obscenity convictions. He does not have an attorney.


Firefighter in stadium lightning strike now stable

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A central Ohio firefighter who went into cardiac arrest when lightning struck outside a soccer stadium has been upgraded from serious to stable condition and transferred to a hospital for rehabilitation.

Authorities believe the off-duty firefighter was struck by lightning while attending a charity event before an MLS game at Crew Stadium in Columbus on June 28.

A spokeswoman for the Columbus Division of Fire says in a statement that Lt. Stu Tudor faces extensive rehabilitation work but has been breathing on his own and opening his eyes to stimuli.

The president of the local firefighters union told The Columbus Dispatch shortly after the lightning strike that the 54-year-old firefighter had been put in a medically induced coma while doctors assessed his injuries.


US officials promoting job training grants in Ohio

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Two members of President Barack Obama's administration are visiting northwestern Ohio to promote job training programs.

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne (AR'-nee) Duncan and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez will be in Toledo on Tuesday to tour a public school that focuses on technology and job training. The Toledo Technology Academy won a $3.8 million federal grant for helping employers work with the school system and the students.

The two officials also will tour a center that helps train people for electrical and telecommunications careers.


All tickets claimed for LeBron's homecoming show

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - LeBron James' Ohio hometown says fans quickly claimed the thousands of tickets available for the homecoming event expected to be his first public appearance in the state since announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The free tickets for the Aug. 8 show at InfoCision Stadium in Akron were released Monday and were gone within hours.

Akron spokeswoman Stephanie York won't divulge how many tickets were offered but says demand was overwhelming. She says organizers hope to make more available.

York says the event is more of a show than a party or rally. The stadium holds more than 27,000 people, but it's unclear how much space will be used for the event.

James has created big buzz by returning to Cleveland four years after leaving for the Miami Heat.


Cincinnati Zoo celebrates International Tiger Day

CINCINNATI (AP) - The Cincinnati Zoo's Malayan tiger exhibit is the center of activity for the zoo's celebration of International Tiger Day this year.

Zoo officials say the public can see tigers Taj and Who-Dey and their keepers at the exhibit in Cat Canyon as part of the celebration Tuesday. Activities include an interactive table set up for guests to chat with tiger keepers and volunteers.

Zoo officials say tigers are being illegally poached for their skin and bones, and fewer than 3,200 remain in the wild.

The zoo says it's committed to ensuring the survival of endangered tigers and supports the tiger conservation efforts of an international wild cat conservation organization called Panthera.

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