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

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CLEVELAND FIREFIGHTERS-CHARGES

Cleveland punishes firefighters in shift scandal

CLEVELAND (AP) - The city of Cleveland has disciplined 17 fire department supervisors for their roles in a shift-trading scandal that prosecutors said endangered public safety.

A city audit had indicated some firefighters paid colleagues instead of trading shifts as they're allowed to do.

The city on Thursday handed out reprimands and shift suspensions to the supervisors ranging from one 24-hour shift to three 24-hour shifts.

Thirteen firefighters pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in the scandal earlier this year, with charges pending against an 18th supervisor currently on leave.

Prosecutors argued that paying for shifts jeopardized public safety as firefighters missed training or their colleagues were overworked.

Defense attorneys and the firefighters' union say that's not true.

OHIO STATE FOOTBALL-PLEA

Suspended Buckeye pleads to misdemeanor in brawl

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) - A former Ohio State University football player has pleaded no contest to a lesser charge in a felony drug case against him.

The (Elyria) Chronicle-Telegram reports that Tracy Sprinkle pleaded Thursday to attempted failure to comply, a misdemeanor. He received a $500 fine, 30-day suspended jail sentence and two years' probation.

Sprinkle was charged after a brawl outside a bar in Lorain on July 4. He also was charged with drug paraphernalia, rioting and failure to disperse. Police say officers found cocaine in the back seat of the squad car that took Sprinkle to jail.

The redshirt freshman was suspended from the team.

Defense attorney Michael Duff says Sprinkle wants to keep playing at Ohio State and the plea was a good way to put the case behind hm.

SCHOOL ATTENDANCE DATA

Columbus schools official pleads in data case

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A former top data official for Columbus city schools has pleaded no contest to attempted tampering with government records, the first criminal charge in an attendance scrubbing scandal at the state's largest district.

Investigators say Stephen Tankovich, ex-executive director of the Office of Accountability Systems, created a system used by Columbus school officials to alter students' attendance records to improve performance ratings.

Tankovich entered the no-contest plea Thursday in Franklin County court as part of a deal in which he'll avoid prison by cooperating with investigators.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Tankovich's lawyer, Mark Collins, said Tankovich devised his system of withdrawing, then re-enrolling chronically absent children because he didn't feel the district should be held accountable for kids who missed a lot of school.

CITY MANAGER-CINCINNATI

Baltimore official nominee for Cincinnati manager

CINCINNATI (AP) - Cincinnati's mayor has introduced Baltimore's finance director as his nominee for city manager.

Mayor John Cranley says Harry Black comes from a city that has also had to deal with budget and pension challenges and knows the issues facing urban areas.

Cranley introduced Black to the public in a news conference Thursday on the steps of City Hall.

Black on Thursday pledged his full commitment to Cincinnati and said he will work to attract new jobs from outside the city and find ways to create jobs from within.

A public hearing will be held Tuesday, with city council members expected to vote on Black's nomination on Wednesday.

The 51-year-old Black has been Baltimore's finance director since January 2012 and has overseen a $3.3 billion budget.

HIGHWAY PATROL-CHALLENGE

Ohio patrol participates in I-90, I-94 safety plan

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio State Highway Patrol is joining weekend efforts to reduce traffic deaths and injuries along interstates 90 and 94.

Participating agencies in several states have set a goal of zero fatalities and fewer than 300 total crashes along the interstates beginning Friday and lasting through Monday.

Officers in 15 states are part of the four-day highway safety effort.

Data from the last three years show that more fatal crashes happen Friday through Monday of each week along both interstates than any other four-day period.

Troopers are urging motorists to slow down, wear seat belts, drive sober and pay attention.

RESCUED RATS

Hundreds of pet rats rescued from Ohio apartment

KETTERING, Ohio (AP) - Humane Society workers have rescued hundreds of pet rats from an apartment in suburban Dayton apparently left after the renter was evicted.

The Humane Society of Greater Dayton found as many as 300 so-called "fancy" or "pocket" pet rats in the studio apartment in Kettering after responding to a complaint Thursday morning.

Humane Society official Sheila Marquis tells the Dayton Daily News the animals make great pets for children but breed rapidly if they aren't spayed and neutered.

The paper says the renter had been evicted and is no longer living in the apartment.

The Humane Society is working with a Cincinnati rat rescue group to try to have the animals adopted.

AMUSEMENT PARK-SHAVED HEADS

Ohio theme park tries to top shaved-heads record

MASON, ,Ohio (AP) - A southwestern Ohio amusement park will try to top a Guinness record for the most heads shaved simultaneously to help raise awareness and money to fight cancer.

Kings Island says more than 200 hair stylists from Great Clips salons in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Lima and Toledo will shave heads Friday at the park north of Cincinnati.

The Guinness World Records website says the current record at 182 heads shaved simultaneously was achieved by Cancer Council ACT-Canberra Relay for Life at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, Australia, on March 29.

Kings Island is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company based in northwestern Ohio. Cedar Fair owns and operates ten other amusement parks, three outdoor water parks, an indoor water park, and five hotels.

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