4th suspect in Ohio enslavement case due in court
CLEVELAND (AP) - The first of 4 suspects is due in federal court in a forced labor case alleging an Ohio woman was held captive with her child, threatened and made to do housework.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Cleveland says bond for 21-year-old suspect Dezerah Silsby will be set Thursday in the case that originated in Ashland.
The charge against Silsby was unsealed Wednesday after she turned herself in. It wasn't clear whether she had an attorney, and her case was not yet listed in online court records.
An FBI affidavit says Silsby admitted she helped retrieve the alleged victims from their relative's house and had slammed the woman's hand in a door and smashed it with a rock.
The other suspects are expected to have bond hearings Monday.
OH man to be sentenced in dying blink murder case
CINCINNATI (AP) - An Ohio man found guilty in a murder trial that hinged on a paralyzed victim blinking his eyes to identify his shooter is scheduled for sentencing.
Thirty-5-year-old Ricardo Woods could get life in prison Thursday. A Cincinnati jury found Woods guilty of murder and felonious assault in the October 2010 shooting of David Chandler.
Police interviewed Chandler after he was shot in the head and neck and only able to communicate with his eyes. He died about two weeks later.
Woods says he is innocent. His attorney says Woods will appeal.
Jurors viewed the videotaped police interview that prosecutors say showed Chandler blinked three times for "yes" to identify Woods' photo as his shooter. The defense argued the blinks were inconsistent and unreliable.
CORRUPTION PROBE-VA OFFICIAL
Ex-chief of Cleveland VA Medical Center indicted
CLEVELAND (AP) - A former director of the Veterans Affairs medical center in Cleveland is accused of accepting bribes and has been indicted on federal charges in a long-running county corruption investigation.
Federal authorities allege William Montague took bribes in exchange for influencing VA decisions and development projects. Montague pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 36 counts, which include bribery, wire and mail fraud, and disclosing public contract information.
A statement from the VA inspector general's agent in charge in Cleveland said there's no tolerance for violating public trust for personal gain.
Montague's attorney didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
Montague, now 61, led the Cleveland VA Medical Center from 1995 until 2010. He then served as acting director of the Dayton VA Medical Center for part of 2011 before resuming retirement.
DEAD MOTHER-SOCIAL SECURITY
Feds: Prison for Ohio woman who buried mom in yard
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say an Ohio woman who buried her mother in her yard and cashed the dead woman's Social Security checks for 14 years has been sentenced to 30 days in prison.
Federal authorities say 66-year-old Marietta resident Patricia Hodges also was sentenced Wednesday in Columbus to six months of home confinement and ordered to repay more than $141,000. Hodges had pleaded guilty to theft of government money for cashing Janet Kelly's checks.
Social Security officials say Hodges told them in 2011 her mother was on a cruise. Authorities found Kelly had died in 1997 and Hodges buried her in the backyard of the Lake Worth, Fla., home where they had lived.
Prosecutors say Hodges admitted concealing her mother's death to collect benefits.
Hodges' attorney hasn't returned a call seeking comment.
PAYING FOR SCHOOLS-SUPERINTENDENT RESIGNS
Critic of Ohio governor's school plan steps down
FRANKLIN, Ohio (AP) - A critic of Gov. John Kasich's (KAY'-siks) school funding plan is resigning as superintendent of a southwest Ohio school district.
Franklin City Schools leader Arnol Elam (AR'-nuhl EE'-luhm) tells The Middletown Journal he wants to spend time traveling with his wife, watching their grandson play sports, and doing other activities. The 61-year-old Elam has 38 years of Ohio education experience.
He wants to step down Aug. 3 but says he will meet with board members to work out a transition plan.
The board's president says there was surprise and mixed reaction to Elam's decision.
Elam had written to parents in February after Kasich released his funding proposal, which Elam and some other officials said wouldn't do enough for poor districts. Elam agreed to pay back costs of his letter.
OHIO ELECTIONS-VOTING RULES
Federal judge dismisses suit over OH ballot issue
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Ohio's elections chief over a sidelined 2012 ballot issue.
The group Fair Elections Ohio had sought to have voters decide last November whether to reject certain election rules.
State lawmakers repealed the underlying law, and Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO'-sted) then didn't consider the issue for the ballot, though it qualified. The group sued for damages and another chance at the ballot.
U.S. District Court Judge George Smith said Wednesday the group failed to show a clearly established right to place a referendum regarding a repealed statute. Smith said Husted acted "rationally and constitutionally."
A statement from Fair Elections Ohio said it was disappointed and argued the Legislature and elections chief don't have power to take away the right of referendum.
YACHT BLOCKS HIGHWAY
Large yacht on truck blocks central Ohio highway
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A large yacht has caused a traffic commotion on land, blocking part of a central Ohio highway during the evening rush hour.
A tractor-trailer carrying the white boat on Interstate 270 was unable to fit beneath an overpass Wednesday and had to be turned around on the highway, which encircles Columbus. Police temporarily blocked part of northbound I-270 on the city's east side so that the tractor-trailer could travel the wrong way on the interstate and exit.
It wasn't clear where the cargo originated, but police told The Columbus Dispatch that it was "a million-dollar yacht" headed to Cleveland.
Traffic in the area returned to normal later Wednesday evening.
Central Ohio airport conducts emergency exercise
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A central Ohio airport plans a mandatory emergency preparedness exercise that will bring together dozens of police officers, doctors and rescue workers.
The exercise planned Thursday at Rickenbacker International Airport outside of Columbus is required by the Federal Aviation Administration. Its regulations call for such events every three years.
The training overseen by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority includes representatives from the Columbus fire department, local hospitals, emergency medic agencies, adjoining cities and the Transportation Security Administration.
The agencies will respond to a scenario in which a plane from Mexico City is forced to make an emergency landing.
The airport authority says regular airport operations won't be affected but some radio traffic may sound like a real emergency.
US education secretary set to visit Kentucky, Ohio
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) - The U.S. secretary of education is traveling to Kentucky and Ohio to promote President Barack Obama's proposal for a major expansion of early childhood education.
Secretary Arne (AR'-nee) Duncan's Thursday visit to the region includes a morning discussion at an early childhood education center in Louisville, Ky., and an anti-bullying forum in Cincinnati in the evening.
Duncan also plans to tour a children's center in Middletown, Ohio, and take part in an afternoon forum with Ohio education leaders on expanding children's early learning opportunities. Obama has proposed working with states to provide programs for all 4-year-olds and eventually all 3-year-olds.
In Cincinnati, Duncan will join the National PTA's evening town hall on bullying prevention.
CAT NURSING PUPPY
Cat nurses orphaned pit bull puppy in Ohio
CLEVELAND (AP) - A cat caring for four newborn kittens is nursing an orphaned week-old pit bull puppy in Cleveland.
Sharon Harvey of the Cleveland Animal Protective League said Wednesday that Lurlene the cat welcomed Noland the puppy to her "unusual little family." The puppy was dropped off at the animal shelter last week when he was a day old.
The staff decided to place Noland with the nursing cat and her litter because bottle feeding doesn't always work.
The puppy will grow faster, so the shelter says it may have to come up with another feeding idea in several weeks until Noland is ready for adoption.
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