Farmers protest to save federal office in Ohio
BROOKVILLE, Ohio (AP) — About 100 Ohio farmers and property owners have driven tractors and other equipment in a protest parade against the potential shutdown of a federal Farm Service Agency office.
The local newspaper reports the FSA branch in Brookville in western Ohio has been targeted for possible closure twice before in the last dozen years.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to close five of Ohio’s FSA offices and will decide which ones by the end of the summer.
The head of the Farm Service Agency in Ohio says cutbacks are necessary because federal funding has been decreasing.
Ohio bill would make left lanes for passing only
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A bill that would raise the speed limit on Ohio interstate highways also would make it a crime to drive in the left lane unless you’re passing or exiting.
Republican state Rep. Ron Maag says it’s dangerous when slower drivers stay in the left lane and other motorists try to pass them on the right. The bill sponsored by the lawmaker from Lebanon in southwest Ohio was scheduled to have its first hearing in the Ohio House on Tuesday.
The local newspaper reports that the State Highway Patrol wonders how troopers could enforce a law limiting the left lane to passing vehicles only.
Maag’s bill would boost the speed limit on Ohio’s interstates from 65 mph to 70 mph, the same as on the Ohio Turnpike.
Caretaker: Leopard from Ohio escape had been fine
ZANESVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The animal’s former caretaker denies there were previous health problems with a spotted leopard that has died at an Ohio zoo where it was kept since an exotic animal escape.
The leopard was euthanized at the Columbus zoo after it was hurt in a weekend accident.
State officials say the leopard had a congenital defect that weakened its spine and might have affected the severity of its injury. They say the cat also had old broken bones that hadn’t healed properly.
It was one of six animals not killed by officers when their owner released tigers and dozens of other creatures in October and then committed suicide.
Farm caretaker John Moore tells the local newspaper there was nothing wrong with the leopard. He says the zoo was neglectful.
Ohio cemetery to welcome people and their pets
KENT, Ohio (AP) — A cemetery in northeast Ohio will offer a final resting place to both people and their pets.
In the spring, Standing Rock Cemetery in Kent will open a new section with gravesites for animal remains. Multiple news outlets report that the public cemetery about 30 miles southeast of Cleveland also will have another area where pet owners may be buried with the cremated remains of their animals inside their coffins.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports it’s rare for traditional cemeteries to welcome the dead’s four-legged friends.
At least one Kent resident is considering possible legal action to stop the cemetery from allowing dogs and other animals to be buried there. Carol Alumeyri calls it disrespectful to her relatives and the other people laid to rest at Standing Rock.
ATV in Ohio hits Amish buggy carrying family of 11
BEACH CITY, Ohio (AP) — Ohio troopers believe a man was drinking before he crashed his all-terrain vehicle into a horse-drawn buggy carrying an Amish couple and their nine children.
The State Highway Patrol says the ATV driver was hospitalized with serious injuries following Sunday evening’s accident on a road in northeast Ohio’s Stark County. The local television station reports the father driving the buggy received a cut on the head but no one else in the family was hurt.
Trooper Matthew Mossor tells the television station the 34-year-old ATV driver wasn’t wearing a helmet or his seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. Mossor says the patrol believes alcohol played a role in the crash, which remains under investigation.
City officials to hear about Ohio casino collapse
CINCINNATI (AP) — A casino construction site collapse that injured more than a dozen workers will be discussed at a Cincinnati city council committee meeting Tuesday.
The city’s chief building officer will brief council members about the Friday collapse. The workers were hurt when the concrete floor they were pouring at the site of the future Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati collapsed.
Inspectors from the city and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration are trying to determine the cause.
One worker remained in serious condition. Most were treated for bumps and scrapes.
The president of the company employing the injured workers says four employees suffered orthopedic injuries. Several needed surgery.
The collapse occurred weeks after a similar accident at a Cleveland casino with the same developers. They say there’s no link between the cases.
Ohio girl testifies against ‘05 child rape suspect
HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A teenage girl in southwest Ohio has testified that a man charged with raping her when she was 9 grabbed her off her bicycle and took her inside a house where he repeatedly sexually assaulted her.
The local newspaper reports the girl also testified Monday that he hit her in the face, and that she ran home naked after he fell asleep.
Alfredo Lopez Cruz has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and kidnapping. His attorney told Butler County jurors on Monday that the state lacks evidence to prove the disturbing story.
The assault led to unrest and the arson burning of the house where the suspect allegedly stayed. Lopez Cruz disappeared, but Mexican and U.S. authorities worked together to capture him last year in Mexico.
Report: Price caps curb Ohio college costs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Price caps have put the brakes on tuition increases at Ohio’s public colleges and universities.
A new report from the higher education overseers at the state Board of Regents shows students have seen their costs go up just 2 percent in the last five years. From 1996 to 2006, tuition went up an average of 9 percent annually.
The Ohio Legislature put the caps in place in 2008. Most schools may raise tuition no more than 3.5 percent per year.
Regents’ spokeswoman Kim Norris tells the local newspaper that Ohio’s four-year public universities still had the 12th-highest prices in the nation during the 2009-10 academic year, the latest for which there are numbers. But she says the schools have done a great job of holding down costs.