Family of Tamir Rice doubtful of charges against officers who shot their son
Nearly 400 days after a white Cleveland police officer fatally shot a black 12-year-old carrying a pellet gun, his family believes it's unlikely officers will be indicted. A decision on whether to charge two white officers in the death of Tamir Rice could come any day. The grand jury making the decision has been meeting since mid-October. Tamir's family has repeatedly complained and has questioned why the case has dragged on. Tamir was shot Nov. 22, 2014, and died early the next day during surgery.
Ohio Department of Transportation to sign $96 million contract for new interchange in Akron
Demolitions crews are busy ahead of a $96 million project creating a new interstate interchange in Akron. The Ohio Department of Transportation expects to sign a contract this spring for work on a new Interstate 76/77 interchange with construction scheduled to begin in the summer. An ODOT spokesman tells the Beacon Journal that the project is on schedule. Most of the buildings that haven't been demolished yet are vacant, with yellow warning signs in windows. ODOT says the new interchange will improve safety along what's considered the most dangerous stretch of highway in Summit County. The state spent a little more than $14 million acquiring 72 parcels of land and is tearing down 31 buildings.
Canton man charged in Christmas Day murder
Police say a Canton man is accused of fatally stabbing another man in a fight on Christmas Day, then forcing a child from a car in a get-away attempt. Police in Perry Township have charged 44-year-old Robert Schmidt with murder in the stabbing death of 34-year-old Jason Gruno. Police say a few minutes after the stabbing, an 11-year-old child sitting in a vehicle at a nearby gas station was forced out and the car stolen. The child was treated at a hospital for bruises.
Gov. John Kasich continues down presidential campaign trail
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is returning to New Hampshire after a year-end appearance and holiday break back in Ohio. Kasich plans campaign events around the Granite State both today and tomorrow. He has set his sights on a strong performance in the state's first-in-the-nation primary Feb. 9 to break him from the crowded GOP pack. On an appearance on ABC's This Week on Sunday, Kasich said he's conducted 45 town hall meetings in the first primary state – more than any other candidate and says that he'll "catch fire" if he wins that state's primary. Kasich has struggled to gain traction with his campaign. Five other presidential candidates also have scheduled New Hampshire events after Christmas: Democrat Martin O'Malley and Republicans Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.
Ohio lawmakers consider placing $1 billion bond issue on November’s ballot for improved water quality projects
Ohio voters could be asked next November whether to approve spending $1 billion on improving water quality around the state. A group of lawmakers and an agriculture-led partnership are looking at whether to put a statewide bond issue for water projects on the ballot. The idea would allow Ohio to borrow $1 billion over 10 years. But Gov. John Kasich is now questioning whether more money really is needed. He says Ohio is making progress tackling the algae blooms that have fouled the state's lakes and rivers. Backers of a potential bond issue say their research shows support for spending money on protecting the state's water resources. A lot of the details are still in the planning stages, including how the money would be spent.
University of Toledo Medical Center to no longer serve as Ebola treatment center
The University of Toledo Medical Center says it will no longer serve as a designated treatment center for the Ebola virus. The Blade newspaper reports that the decision leaves MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland as the state's only Ebola treatment center. In an email obtained by the Blade, the hospital says it will still train and drill to care for Ebola patients it could potentially receive. The Ohio Health Department says being designated a treatment or assessment center is "a significant investment" requiring drills and staff to handle patients with the contagious virus. St. Rita's Medical Center in Lima remains an Ebola assessment hospital, where patients would be kept until the virus is identified.
Fraternal and veterans groups continue legal battle with Ohio Attorney General over the use of electronic raffle machines
Electronic raffle machines operated by fraternal and veterans groups have raised $17 million for Ohio charities and remain in use amid a pending lawsuit over the state's effort to shut them down. The Columbus Dispatch reports the legal battle between the Ohio Veterans and Fraternal Charitable Coalition and Attorney General Mike DeWine is scheduled for trial next summer. The coalition began operating the video raffle machines in 2011. It says the machines are charitable electronic bingo games and legal under state law. Proceeds are split among the lodges and veteran posts and charitable organizations in the state. DeWine said the games were illegal gambling machines in October 2013 and shut them down. The coalition then hired a former Supreme Court justice who filed a lawsuit to block the shutdown.
Winter’s warm weather saves Ohio cities money
This winter's unseasonably warm weather is saving municipalities green in the form of money they're not spending clearing the white stuff off roads. Cities in Butler County in southwestern Ohio had already applied tons of salt to area roads by this time last year and in 2013. The Hamilton Journal News reports that the same cities haven't spent anything treating streets this year. Columbus has pretreated roads with brine a couple of times so far as a precaution. Forecasters say the biggest concern in the next couple of days is heavy rain, with flash flood warnings issued for northwestern Ohio
Gas prices spike slightly in Ohio, still 16 cents cheaper than last year
Ohio drivers are seeing slightly higher prices at the pump as 2015 comes to an end. The state average for a gallon of regular fuel is about $1.89 in today's survey from auto club AAA and its partners. That's up 8 cents from a week ago but down 16 cents compared with this time last year. Ohio's prices have been running below the national average for regular gas, which is $2.00 to start this week. A year ago, it was about $2.30.