Ohio News Briefs


Ohio bill calls for school intervention in truancy cases

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Legislation approved by Ohio lawmakers calls for decriminalizing truancy and forcing schools to try and get truant students back to class before taking the issue to juvenile court.

The Plain Dealer reports students will be declared “habitual truants” under the bill if they miss at least five or more consecutive school, seven days in a month or 12 days in a year. A team of school staff and a parent or guardian must also look for ways to keep those children in school.

If the student doesn’t make any progress after two months, school districts must then file a complaint with the juvenile court and treat the absences as a delinquency issue.

The bill awaiting the signature of Gov. John Kasich also prohibits suspending students for skipping school.

Electors in Ohio deliver all 18 votes to GOP’s Donald Trump

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — All 18 of Ohio’s Electoral College members voted Monday for Republican Donald Trump despite opposition by protesters outside the state capitol building.

The vote occurred after Republican Gov. John Kasich, a Trump detractor, was compelled to appear in the Ohio Statehouse’s Senate chambers to play an official role in the replacement of an elector. Kasich had declined to endorse or vote for Trump after dropping his own presidential bid, but he chose to deliver a message of unity when addressing electors.

Kasich picked up on a line in the event’s opening prayer in urging the body to support Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who won the vote count in the state Nov. 8.

“It’s not (that) we’re asking God to be on our side. It’s our responsibility to be on his,” he said. “That means that we are together, that means that we want connection, we want neighbors, we want unity, we want love. And we recognize the very strength of our country is encapsulated in those virtues, and values of the two gentlemen I talked about today.”

GOP state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio over both Kasich and Trump in the Republican primary, delivered the day’s keynote address. He praised Trump.

The vote came as the cries of hundreds of protesters could be heard outside the Senate chamber. They demonstrated to push for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Clinton won the popular vote nationally but secured just 43 percent of the vote in Ohio compared to Trump’s 51 percent.

Hundreds of protesters marched around the Statehouse outside the event, carrying signs including “Trump=Danger.”

“The constitution’s very clear,” said demonstrator Charles Merbitz, of Cleveland. “The electors are supposed to be ‘sober men’ who examine the candidates and vote for a candidate with good character who they believe will make a good president.”

Inside, electors said that’s exactly how they felt about Trump, the New York billionaire who stunned the Republican Party with his unconventional campaign style, penchant for controversial remarks and staying power with American voters.

Electors convened in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on Monday.

Ohio gas prices up at beginning of busy holiday travel week

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Drivers are seeing slightly higher gas prices at the start of what’s likely to be a week of heavy holiday travel.

A gallon of regular gas in Ohio was averaging $2.29 in Monday’s survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That’s up 7 cents from a week ago and well above the average from a year ago, which was about $1.83.

The national average for regular fuel was $2.24 on Monday, up three pennies from a week earlier. The national average at this time last year was $2.00.

Average gas prices increased in recent weeks following the OPEC agreement on Nov. 30 to cut production beginning in January.

Policing students to get award named for slain Ohio officer

NEWARK, Ohio (AP) — An award named for an Ohio police officer who was fatally shot is being introduced by his alma mater as its latest police academy students graduate.

Central Ohio Technical College says two of those students will receive the Officer Thomas W. Cottrell Jr. Award for Character and Dedication to Public Service at the graduation ceremony Tuesday on the Newark campus. The financial prize is at least $1,000.

The school says Cottrell’s mother created the award to honor her son, who graduated from the program in 2002.

The 34-year-old Danville officer was found shot in January after a woman warned police that her ex-boyfriend was “looking to kill a cop.” That suspect, Herschel Jones III, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges in the potential death penalty case.

Police: Boy, 4, accidentally shoots himself inside home

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A 4-year-old boy has accidentally shot himself inside a home in Columbus.

Police say Tyjhaunn Granger shot himself one time in the abdomen Sunday evening.

Witnesses tell police the boy had found a handgun in the bathroom cupboard and while he was handling the firearm, it went off.

The child was taken to a hospital. He’s expected to survive.

The shooting remains under investigation.