Poll: Ohio governor leading Democratic challenger
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A new poll shows that Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald has gained little ground against Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik).
The poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac (KWIHN'-uh-pee-ak) University in Connecticut shows Republican Kasich ahead of FitzGerald 48 percent to 36 percent.
The same poll in May had Kasich leading by a 50-to-35 percent margin.
The July 24-28 survey notes that many Ohioans still don't know much about FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County executive. The survey said 65 percent of voters don't know enough about FitzGerald to form an opinion of him.
Fifty-five percent of Ohioans questioned approve of the job Kasich is doing. He was elected governor in 2010.
The survey of 1,366 Ohio voters has a margin-of-error of just under 3 percentage points.
The election is Nov. 4.
Terror threats at chemical plants underestimated
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional investigators say the government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America's densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers particularly vulnerable to terrorists.
The investigation by Republican staff on the Senate Homeland Security Committee documents inspection delays and government errors in risk assessment in a $595 million terror prevention program. A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press.
Half of the 4,011 high-risk facilities on the Homeland Security Department's watch list are in 10 states. They are California, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan and New Jersey.
Committee investigators say larger metropolitan regions such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia might be more vulnerable to an attack.
GAY MARRIAGE-OHIO AD
Group backing gay marriage releases TV ad in Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A group supporting gay marriage in Ohio is airing its first television ad as a federal appeals court prepares to hear oral arguments on the issue.
The ad from the Why Marriage Matters Ohio campaign features a gay couple from the state who married last October in New York after 50 years together. The two men discuss their long-term relationship in the 30-second spot released Wednesday.
The ad is expected to run for a week in the Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo markets.
Ohioans approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004 with 62 percent of the vote.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear two challenges to the Ohio ban on Aug. 6, along with cases from Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Panel to get update on Ohio prison food complaints
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A legislative committee is ready to hear more about complaints facing the private food vendor that won the contract to feed Ohio inmates.
Reports indicate employees with Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services have repeatedly failed to provide food or run out of it since beginning work last September.
Reports also document several days when Aramark employees simply failed to show up, cases of unauthorized relationships between inmates and Aramark workers, and five reports since January of maggots in food or the preparation process.
The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee will hear from Ohio prisons director Gary Mohr on Wednesday, along with Aramark and the union representing prison employees.
Aramark has called the complaints part of an anti-privatization effort and says it's making steady progress managing operations.
FOSTER CARE FORUM
Forum to focus on extending foster care in Ohio
CINCINNATI (AP) - The second of five public forums around Ohio on the issue of whether to extend foster care for young people from the age of 18 to 21 includes state legislators and community leaders.
The forum Wednesday in Cincinnati is focusing on what happens when young people leave foster care and how extending that support might help. Currently, foster care covers youths to age 18.
Federal funding became available to states to expand their foster care services in 2008. Advocates say 26 states and the District of Columbia have since extended their foster care to age 21 or are in the process of doing that.
Advocates say extending care results in improved outcomes, with young people more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college and avoid homelessness.
Cops: Man tries to smother ill dad, who later dies
BRECKSVILLE, Ohio (AP) - Police in a Cleveland suburb say an intoxicated man tried to suffocate his 86-year-old terminally ill father at a nursing home, and the older man later died.
The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that 58-year-old Steven Curtis, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is facing charges including attempted murder
Police say his father, Roy Curtis, died several hours later, but the medical examiner hasn't yet ruled on his cause of death.
A police report says staff members at the Brecksville nursing home saw an intoxicated Steven Curtis with his hands over his father's nose and mouth early Monday.
Steven Curtis appeared in court Tuesday and was released on $50,000 bail. No attorney information was available, and a phone number for him couldn't be found.
BODIES IN TOWNHOME
Judge steps aside in Akron slayings case
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A judge in Akron accused of bias by county prosecutors has voluntarily stepped aside in a pending death-penalty case.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Summit County Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands on Tuesday notified the Ohio Supreme Court of her withdrawal from the case of an Akron man facing aggravated murder charges in the drug-related slayings of four people last year.
In a letter to the court, Rowlands wrote that she was stepping aside because of the "complexity of the matter" and the "gravity of the issues involved."
Rowlands had countered prosecutors' claims, including that she wants them to drop death-penalty specifications in the trial of 22-year-old Deshanon Haywood.
Haywood's co-defendant, Derrick Brantley, who was identified as the principal gunman, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Group attacks youth violence in Cleveland
CLEVELAND (AP) - Spending more money on prevention programs and working harder to keep guns out of the wrong hands are among the proposals floated by a group in Cleveland working to slow down youth violence.
Treating youth violence as a public health epidemic and strengthening existing anti-violence programs also were listed by participants Tuesday. The panel includes prosecutors, mental health and medical professionals, and neighborhood groups.
The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports the group sifted through 18 short- and long-term solutions, developed over three years of meetings, and decided on the four primary steps.
The meeting was to finalize a "wish list" of everything the group said needs to be done to supplant "an infrastructural change" in violence. The group will continue to meet regularly.
COLD CASE RAPE-SENTENCE
Rape conviction adds to Ohio inmate's sentence
CLEVELAND (AP) - Prosecutors in Cleveland say DNA evidence in another cold case helped add to the prison sentence of a serial rapist.
The Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County prosecutor's office said Tuesday that 54-year-old Ralph Kent pleaded guilty to one count of rape and was sentenced to 15 to 25 years in prison for the 1994 attack on a 66-year-old woman.
Kent had been convicted of three other sexual assaults and is serving time on two of them. The prosecutor's office says he has a parole hearing set for this fall, but the latest conviction definitely will keep him behind bars.
The sexual-assault kit taken from the 1994 victim after the attack was among those submitted by police recently to the state crime lab, which matched it to Kent's DNA profile in a database.
BANK ROBBERY SPREE-CHARGES
Serial bank robber gets 20 years in federal prison
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - An unemployed Washington state restaurant worker has been sentenced to two decades in federal prison for robbing banks in Illinois and two other states.
Forty-nine-year-old Carl Frederick Kieffer of Spokane, Washington, pleaded guilty in May in East St. Louis to charges linked to holdups weeks apart last year in O'Fallon, Illinois, Michigan's Charlotte and in Lusk, Wyoming. He was arrested shortly after making off with $3,300 from an O'Fallon bank.
Kieffer also was suspected of bank holdups last year in the Detroit suburb of Novi, Ohio's Tipp City and Bolivar, and Illinois' Farmersville. Investigators say he confessed to many of those, though he was never charged.
U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan noted that Kieffer has spent 30 of his 49 years behind bars.
Cincinnati airport has highest ticket prices
CINCINNATI (AP) - New federal numbers show the airport serving the Cincinnati area has the nation's highest ticket prices.
Federal transportation statistics released Tuesday show the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport had an average roundtrip ticket price of $514 during the first quarter this year.
That's up from $510 in the fourth quarter of 2013, when the airport had the second-highest average ticket price among the 100 largest U.S. airports.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the ranking shows new low-cost airlines have not had an impact on lowering overall fares at the airport.
However, officials are optimistic that the airport in northern Kentucky will start to drop in the federal airfare rankings later this year as new low-cost carriers catch on. The increased competition is expected to lower fares.
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