DRUGS AND GUNS-CHARGES
22 charged with drug, gun crimes in central Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say 22 people have been charged with drug trafficking and gun crimes in a central Ohio investigation.
State and federal investigators say the defendants are alleged members of a gang that has operated in a neighborhood north of downtown Columbus for two decades.
David DeVillers, assistant U.S. attorney in Columbus, says some alleged members of the Short North Posse are relatives of original gang members from the 1990s, including sons and daughters.
The defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine, oxycodone, crack cocaine and marijuana. The federal indictments announced today also charge defendants with illegal possession of firearms, illegal travel to support racketeering and money laundering.
Several of the defendants were in custody today.
Columbus, Franklin County and federal authorities say the indictments cap a yearlong investigation.
Ohio ex-teacher gets 2-year sentence on sex charge
CINCINNATI (AP) - A former high school teacher in southwest Ohio has been sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted on a sexual battery charge alleging that she had sex with a 16-year-old student.
Hamilton County Judge Norbert Nadel (NAY'-dul) told 37-year-old Julie Hautzenroeder (HAHT'-zin-roh-dur) today that she violated a position of trust and authority. Last month, a jury convicted her on one of two counts alleging that she had sex at her home with sophomore students from Colerain (KOHL'-ur-ayn) High School. She was acquitted on the second count.
Defense attorney Stew Mathews says the judge's sentence had been expected. He says the conviction will be appealed.
The judge gave Hautzenroeder 30 days to begin her sentence. She also must register as a sex offender.
Facebook posts are issue in Ohio stabbing trial
CLEVELAND (AP) - A jury in northeast Ohio will decide if a 19-year-old man acted in self-defense when he fatally stabbed another man following a Facebook fight over a woman.
Christopher Dowen is standing trial in Cleveland in the June 30 death of 18-year-old Prentice Dietrich-Smith at his home in Euclid, east of Cleveland.
The (Willoughby) News-Herald reports that an escalating argument on Facebook over Dowen's fiance - whom Deitrich-Smith had dated - are an issue in the trial, specifically one Dowen posted earlier that day threatening to beat up the other man.
The stabbing happened after Dowen showed up at Dietrich-Smith's home.
Dowen's attorney told the judge that neither man should be judged by the "stupid" Facebook postings. He said Dowen killed the other man in self-defense. Prosecutors disagree.
Feds: About 5,700 Ohioans have picked health plans
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Nearly 5,700 Ohio residents have successfully picked health insurance plans through the new online marketplace created by President Barack Obama's signature health care law.
A report released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services details enrollment numbers as of Nov. 30.
The data shows that more than 51,500 Ohioans submitted applications for health coverage for more than 96,400 people - such as themselves, their spouses and children.
Ohio is among the 36 states relying on the federal website, HealthCare.gov. When the troubled website wasn't working properly in October, just 1,150 Ohioans managed to select a plan.
The report shows more than 137,000 have enrolled in states using the site, up from fewer than 27,000 in October.
Consumers face a Dec. 23 enrollment deadline if they want coverage on Jan. 1.
Democrat reassures backers in race for OH governor
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Democrats' presumptive 2014 gubernatorial nominee, Ed FitzGerald, is seeking to reassure supporters that his campaign is focused and moving forward after his running mate left the race in a flap over unpaid tax debts.
Observers wonder how FitzGerald effectively can put the issue behind him.
FitzGerald sent an email to campaign backers today emphasizing his "enormous respect" for state Sen. Eric Kearney (KUHR'-nee). Kearney left the ticket yesterday under mounting pressure over more than $700,000 in state and federal tax liens owed by him, his wife and their Cincinnati publishing business.
FitzGerald says the move allows the campaign to focus on what he refers to as Gov. John Kasich's (KAY'-siks) faltering economy.
But editorials across the state continued to question FitzGerald's fitness to be governor in the controversy's wake.
2 more racinos in Ohio mean more competition
NORTHFIELD, Ohio (AP) - The gambling scene is getting more crowded in Ohio.
Horse racing tracks offering slots-style video lottery terminals will debut tomorrow in Lebanon northeast of Cincinnati and next Wednesday in Northfield north of Akron.
Miami Valley Gaming in Lebanon and Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park both offer expanded gambling options beyond traditional betting on horses.
Ohio already has horse racing tracks with slots, called racinos for shorthand, near Cleveland and Columbus. Racinos also are planned in the Youngstown, Cincinnati and Dayton areas, all opening next year.
Ohio has voter-approved casinos in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo.
Gambling expert David Schwartz at the University of Nevada Las Vegas says increased competition will lead to other ways to attract people, including good customer service and incentives to gamble.
WOUNDED VETERAN-STORM HELP
Double-amputee Marine helps stranded OH motorists
FAIRBORN, Ohio (AP) - A Marine veteran who lost both his legs in Afghanistan is again being called a hero - this time for helping stuck motorists out during a snow storm.
The Dayton Daily News reports that 26-year-old Larry Draughn used his pickup truck to pull out three vehicles that ran off the road and into ditches during Sunday's ice and snow in southwest Ohio.
Draughn says he has been well-treated in the Fairborn community and feels compelled to help. The group Homes for Our Troops built his family's house.
He received prosthetic legs after losing his to a roadside bomb explosion four years ago.
He doesn't see his actions Sunday as heroic, but a couple he assisted disagreed. Mildred Ledbetter was moved to tears by his help.
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