Nearly 5,000 untested rape kits processed in Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Attorney General Mike DeWine says Ohio's crime lab has processed nearly 5,000 previously untested rape kits as it searches for DNA matches that could help solve reported sexual assaults.
DeWine says forensic scientists with the state lab had received 4,956 previously untested kits from 110 law enforcement agencies in Ohio as of early last week.
Testing has been completed on more than 2,300 of those rape kits, leading to 766 DNA matches in a criminal database.
DeWine announced the testing initiative in December 2011. The attorney general has offered free DNA testing to any law enforcement agency with untested rape kits in which a crime was believed to have been committed. Many of the kits submitted for testing are between 10 and 20 years old.
Ohio motorists urged to look out for deer activity
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's transportation department is cautioning drivers to look out for increased deer movement along the roadways at this time of year.
The agency says that Ohio saw close to 21,000 vehicle collisions involving deer last year, which resulted in six deaths and more than 1,000 injuries. An unknown number of accidents involving deer also go unreported to law enforcement.
Counties with the highest number of reported deer-vehicle collisions were Stark County with 558; Richland County with 533; Hamilton County with 524; Clermont County with 470; and Lorain County with 470.
The Department of Transportation is urging motorists to drive cautiously where deer-crossing signs are posted and to watch for deer around sunrise and sunset. The department says more than half of collisions occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.
Cleveland Orchestra financial report positive
CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Orchestra says it's in solid financial shape this year thanks in part to record donations and special ticket programs targeting youth.
The Plain Dealer newspaper (http://bit.ly/Ix1mxW ) says the orchestra's annual report, released this week, brought almost entirely good news for the first time in years. The organization reported a balanced budget, a $22 million revenue increase and growth in both its audience and its endowment.
It attributes some of the higher revenue to ticket programs targeting students and programs for youth to get free admission with paying adults.
Attendance was slightly higher for Blossom Music Center performances. The orchestra also benefited from record-setting philanthropy with $10.1 million in gifts to its annual fund in the 2013 fiscal year and $33.5 million in pledges and other donations.
Ohio amusement park to fill thousands of jobs
MASON, Ohio (AP) - An amusement park in southwest Ohio is now accepting applications for more than 4,000 seasonal jobs next year.
Kings Island says it is now accepting applications for the park's next season, which opens in April.
Officials say workers are needed in all areas of park operation. Those areas include admissions, a call center, cash control, entertainment, food and beverage, fire and safety, rides and guest services among others.
Anyone 15 years of age or older can apply. Qualified applicants will be contacted to schedule an on-site interview.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company owns and operates Kings Island. The company also owns and operates ten other amusement parks, three outdoor water parks, an indoor water park, and five hotels.
Ohio amusement park still stays busy in winter
SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) - The off-season doesn't mean it's the slow-season at Cedar Point.
The Ohio amusement park along Lake Erie is filled with activity even though the park wrapped up its season at the end of October.
Park spokesman Bryan Edwards says it's a popular misconception that everything shuts down in the winter.
He says there are about 350 people working during the winter months.
That includes mechanics who are taking apart and rebuilding roller coaster trains and inspecting other parts of the rides.
The News-Messenger in Fremont (http://ohne.ws/1hex9C8 ) reports work is also underway on a couple of new rides and on renovations at the park's Hotel Breakers.
Gee wants to help WVU as interim president
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Gordon Gee (gee) isn't fond of the typical definition of his new role as West Virginia University's interim president.
The former Ohio State president understands he'll only be in Morgantown for about six months starting in January before a permanent president is named.
During that span, he plans to roll up his sleeves and get things done, just the way he did three decades ago.
Gee says he doesn't like the word interim, comparing it to the term 'seat warmer.'
Gee was WVU's president from 1981 to 1985. He served two stints as Ohio State's president before retiring last summer after remarks he made jabbing Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools were made public. He was named WVU's interim president on Friday.
Probe: Youngstown mayor's ex-aide wrongly flirted
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - An investigation into alleged sexual harassment by a candidate for Youngstown mayor has concluded the man made inappropriate and flirtatious remarks to a city council employee.
The Vindicator of Youngstown reports (http://bit.ly/1csr2Xf ) that a probe released Friday into the conduct of DeMaine Kitchen did not address claims that Lyndsey Hughes was also physically harassed.
The investigation was conducted by a former sheriff's deputy hired by the city.
Kitchen had served as Mayor Chuck Sammarone's (sahm-uh-ROHNZ') chief of staff and secretary. He lost a contentious mayor's race in November to Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally.
Kitchen resigned his city job Monday. He didn't return the newspaper's requests for comment.
Text messages retrieved in the probe showed DeMaine told Hughes "I've been attracted" and "it's urs (yohrz) if u ever want it."
Missing Ohio woman dead after car driven into pond
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (AP) - A central Ohio woman reported missing was found dead in a pond after authorities say she apparently lost control of her car while rounding a curve.
The Pickaway County Sheriff's Office says 53-year-old Donna J. Vangundy was found Saturday morning after law enforcement and volunteers searching for her found tire tracks by the pond near Tarlton and Huber Hitler roads. Officials say her car was completely submerged in the water, but Vangundy's body was found at the edge of the pond.
Vangundy was reported missing after she didn't arrive for work early Wednesday morning.
An autopsy was requested and the case remained under investigation.
Ohio mother pleads guilty to charge in son's death
SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) - The mother of a slain Ohio toddler has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of permitting child abuse in the boy's 2012 death.
The Sandusky Register reports (http://bit.ly/1iK8XJA ) 23-year-old Danielle Flannery faces a $20,000 fine and up to 11 years in prison.
Flannery's 3-year-old son died on July 30, 2012, while in the care of her then-boyfriend, 25-year-old Michael Milner.
Police allege Milner delivered the fatal blows that resulted in the boy's death. He is in jail awaiting trial on murder, assault and child endangering charges.
Authorities believed Flannery was holding back details from the evening the boy died and of past abuse he had suffered.
In exchange for her plea Friday in Erie County Common Pleas Court, prosecutors dropped charges against her of obstruction, child endangering and involuntary manslaughter.
Bodies of estranged couple found in southwest Ohio
RIPLEY, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in Brown County are investigating the deaths of a woman and man whose bodies were found in a car along a southwest Ohio road as a possible murder-suicide.
Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger said the bodies of 42-year-old Genevieve (jehn-uh-VEEV') Smith of Higginsport and 55-year-old Andrew Smith, her estranged husband, were found in a Ford Mustang near Ripley around 9 p.m. Friday. A handgun was also found.
Andrew Smith's last known address was Maysville, Ky.
Wenninger said Genevieve Smith had a restraining order against Andrew Smith. Police believe he was the man involved in a fight with Genevieve Smith outside her home early Thursday. That same day, she was reported missing.
An autopsy is being conducted by the Brown County coroner to determine cause of death.
WOMAN RUN OVER
NE Ohioan charged after ejected passenger run over
CLEVELAND (AP) - Police have charged a 28-year-old Cleveland woman with aggravated vehicular homicide after she allegedly ran over a woman who had been ejected from her car.
The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports (http://bit.ly/18rH966) that Shamanique (shah-muh-NEEK') Bryant was westbound on Euclid Avenue at around 3 a.m. Saturday when she struck another vehicle. The impact threw 24-year-old Mattie J. Quellen Stubbs from Bryant's passenger seat onto the road.
Bryant at first left the scene, stopping to perform CPR on a man in her backseat who had been shot. She then returned to the scene of the earlier accident, running over Stubbs in the process.
Police did not say whether Stubbs was still alive when Bryant returned to the scene.
The news organization reported authorities anticipate additional driving while intoxicated charges.
Ohioan who posed as animal vet gets early release
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A northeast Ohio woman convicted of posing as a veterinarian at a clinic has been released from prison after serving about half of her 18-month sentence.
Authorities said Brandi Tomko pretended to be an animal doctor in Akron to support a drug habit. She was convicted of animal-related offenses and drug-related crimes.
Tomko had posed as a vet from 2009 to 2011 at an animal hospital, where she drew blood, wrote prescriptions and performed animal surgeries despite not being properly licensed.
The Akron Beacon Journal (http://bit.ly/1cfCmCK ) reports a judge granted Tomko early release this week and put her on probation for two years.
Tomko's attorney says he's satisfied with the outcome of the case.
NANCY DREW AUCTION
Ohio auction features items from Nancy Drew author
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Typewriters and a desk from the home of the original author of the Nancy Drew mystery books are going up for auction in Ohio.
The auction Sunday in Toledo will feature a lifetime of keepsakes that belonged to Mildred Wirt Benson. She wrote 23 of the 30 original Nancy Drew stories using the pseudonym Carolyn Keene.
Benson died in 2002 and left her belongings to her daughter, who died this year.
The auction house handling the sale says many of the items, including autographed posters and awards, came from Benson's home office.
Few people knew Benson was the writer behind the early Nancy Drew stories until 1980 because she had signed a secrecy contract that wouldn't allow her to publicly reveal her identity. She was paid $125 per book.