News from around the Buckeye State

$5M bond set for Ohio man charged with shooting police dog

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — A judge has set a $5 million bond for a man charged with fatally shooting a police dog that’s being hailed as a hero in the northeast Ohio city of Canton.

Twenty-two-year-old Kelontre Barefield is charged with aggravated burglary and assaulting or harassing a police dog. No record of any attorney for Barefield could be found.

Canton police say the 3-year-old German shepherd named Jethro died Sunday after being wounded during an investigation of a grocery store break-in. Police say Barefield shot Jethro three times. The dog’s police handler returned fire and shot Barefield in the leg. Barefield remained hospitalized Monday.

About 80 people held a vigil for Jethro on Sunday outside police headquarters. Police Chief Bruce Lawver says he thinks Jethro is a hero who saved lives.

Advocates call for redo of Ohio unemployment benefit bill

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A coalition of health and human services advocates says a proposal to change Ohio’s unemployment compensation system would severely limit jobless benefits for workers and it should be redone.

The request from Advocates for Ohio’s Future came Monday, a day before a legislative panel planned to hold a hearing on the bill.

Supporters say the bill helps address solvency issues with the system so Ohio is better prepared in case of a recession.

But advocates say it would “dismantle” an effective poverty prevention program. Among other changes, it would cut the number of weeks that a person could get jobless benefits. The coalition wants a committee of employers, state officials and others to further explore such changes.

Sponsoring Rep. Barbara Sears says she has no plans to scrap the bill.

Experts to evaluate human remains found on Ohio sidewalk

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — An anthropology team is helping with the investigation of human skeletal remains discovered on a sidewalk in northeastern Ohio.

Akron police and fire crews responding to multiple 911 calls Friday about a skull on a sidewalk near a vacant lot also found a spine in the area.

Akron police said a forensic anthropologist with the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office was called to the scene.

Officials say forensics experts will evaluate the remains to determine sex, race and identity. They say that can be a lengthy process, and there is no definite timetable for when that part of the investigation might be completed.

Authorities say an anthropology team from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, is helping with the investigation at the request of the county medical examiner.

Ohio lawmakers back CDC limits on painkiller prescribing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio lawmakers leading the fight to reduce the state’s deadly addictions epidemic are backing a federal effort to curb the prescribing of painkillers.

Rep. Robert Sprague, a Findlay Republican, said Monday he’s throwing his support behind proposed guidelines governing painkillers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sprague also called on anyone affected by drug abuse to contact the CDC to support the guidelines.

Sprague says lawmakers, prescribers, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, the criminal justice system and patients can change prescribing habits for narcotics in Ohio by working together.

The CDC guidelines call for considering non-addictive painkiller alternatives first, shortening prescription times for acute pain and lowering doses for chronic pain.

Sprague was joined by Rep. Ryan Smith, a southeastern Ohio Republican, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Ohio hopes to cut women inmate spike via prison alternatives

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio hopes to help curb rising numbers of women inmates in the state’s prisons through a program focusing on community alternatives.

The Columbus Dispatch reports a state budget provision allows the director of Ohio’s prisons to move nonviolent, low-level felony drug offenders out of prison and into community programs or electronically-monitored house arrest if they have less than a year remaining of their sentence.

The move marks the first time the director has been authorized by legislators to shorten prison sentences. More than 2,000 inmates are likely to be eligible this year for the program that applies to men and women. The newspaper says women will get first priority in the new program.

A national prisoner-advocacy group reports female prison intake is increasing nearly double the rate for men.