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Morning news headlines for August 7, 2012
Special elections today; redistricting referendum makes November ballot; Romney returning to Ohio amid VP speculation
This story is part of a special series.

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
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  • Polls open for special elections
  • Voters First makes November ballot
  • Romney plans bus tour, VP speculation swirls
  • GOP candidate compares Obama to Hitler
  • State legislator aims to end “double dipping”
  • ODOT exploring best use of road surfaces
  • Akron General shooting victim “extremely disabled”
  • Suspicious package found at Columbus airport
  • Pet alligator found in Cleveland back yard
  • Polls open for special elections
    Voters in Ohio have a special election today on local issues. About 35 counties have a total of 60 issues most of them concerning schools. Three dozen issues involve school funding requests - including the Brecksville-Broadview Heights District, Chardon Schools, and Buckeye Local schools in Medina County - there are also levies on the ballot in Lake, Lorain Portage, Summit, and Stark, and other counties. Polls open at 6:30 this morning through 7:30 tonight.

    Voters First makes November ballot
    A coalition seeking to change how Ohio draws legislative and congressional districts has collected enough signatures to put its proposed constitutional amendment on the fall ballot. The Voters First proposal aims to take away map-drawing powers from elected officials and put them in the hands of a 12-person citizen commission. Secretary of State Jon Husted said yesterday that the group collected enough valid signatures to be on the November ballot. The measure is supported by many unions and several Democratic lawmakers. The Ohio Republican Party is fighting the proposal.

    Romney plans bus tour, VP speculation swirls
    GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is planning a trip to Ohio next Tuesday. It’s part of a multi-state bus tour that some believe could be to announce a running mate.  Rob Portman has been a part of the VP discussion for months. The Plain Dealer reports Portman will be on the bus when it makes several stops in the Buckeye State. The Romney campaign has not released details of the trip.

    GOP candidate compares Obama to Hitler
    Republican congressional candidate Marisha Agana sparked controversy on Twitter over the weekend when she compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Agana is challenging incumbent Tim Ryan in the 13th district. She tweeted Sunday “History has a way of repeating itself: Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung and now Obama!!!” Agana later tweeted she was referring to Obama’s pro-choice stance on abortion. Twitter users blasted Agana for her comment.

    State legislator aims to end “double dipping”
    The Ohio House begins hearings on state pension reforms this week. One Republican is calling on legislators to end the practice of “double dipping.”  The Columbus Dispatch reports Representative Rex Damschroder of Sandusky County proposed legislation to bar public employees from retiring and then being rehired. The practice allows workers to collect a salary while also collecting their pension. Damschroder says ending “double dipping” will ensure that the state retirement system stays solid. Final votes on pension bills could come in September.

    ODOT exploring best use of road surfaces
    ODOT is ordering a study to learn the best uses for concrete and asphalt on Ohio’s roads. The Columbus Dispatch reports ODOT will spend $25,000 dollars on the study by the Battelle Memorial Institute. The concrete and asphalt industries have battled for years over which surface is better. ODOT Deputy Director of Engineering says his department hopes to avoid the fight with the study.

    Akron General shooting victim “extremely disabled”
    A prosecutor says a northeast Ohio woman whose husband is accused of shooting her in a possible mercy killing had been in a hospital's intensive care unit in an extremely disabled state. Akron assistant city prosecutor Craig Morgan said yesterday that 65-year-old Barbara Wise was incapacitated before 66-year-old John Wise shot her in the head Saturday with a handgun. Police say John Wise entered his wife's hospital room at Akron General Medical Center and shot at least one round from a handgun while standing at her bedside. Barbara Wise was declared dead Sunday. Police are waiting on an autopsy to decide what charge would be appropriate for Wise, of Massillon. Wise is under police guard in an undisclosed location.

    One year anniversary of Copley shooting
    Today marks the one year anniversary of a tragic shooting rampage in Northeast Ohio. It was Aug. 7, 2011, that 51 year-old Copley resident Michael Hance fatally shot seven people and wounded his long-time girlfriend Becky Dieter before he was shot and killed by Copley police. Dieter recalls surviving the tragedy in today’s Akron Beacon Journal in her first public comments since the incident.

    Suspicious package found at Columbus airport
    Authorities say a suspicious package reported at Port Columbus Airport did not contain explosives. The bomb squad was called at about 10 p.m. last night to investigate the package found near a bus stop. Police haven't said exactly what was.  Flights were not affected.

    Pet alligator found in Cleveland back yard
    Authorities acting on a tip found an alligator being kept as a pet in a Cleveland back yard. The juvenile alligator — 3 to 4 feet long — was discovered in a tub with a metal grate and bricks to keep it from escaping.   Its owner is apparently in jail. Animal control officers took the reptile, along with four dogs tethered outside without food or water. The alligator is on its way to an exotic animal sanctuary.

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