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Morning news headlines for January 29, 2013
Lesbian former den mom speaks out on possible Boy Scout rule changes; Elyria gets millions in unclaimed funds; Rules set for T.J. Lane trial

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
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  • Ousted lesbian den mom comments on possible Boy Scout rule changes
  • Big unclaimed funds payday for Elyria
  • Judge outlines rules for T.J. Lane trial
  • Kasich plans education town hall
  • Boccieri returning to politics, files to challenge Gibbs
  • Ohio congressional delegation looking into VA wait times
  • Ohio may make drivers buy new license plates
  • Franciscan brother’s suicide won’t affect Warren abuse claims
  • Ousted lesbian den mom comments on possible Boy Scout rule changes
    An Ohio woman ousted as a den mother a year ago because she is a lesbian is thrilled that the Boys Scouts of America is considering changing its policy of excluding gays as leaders and youth members. Jennifer Tyrrell says she knew the policy would change one day because she says it's the right thing to do. The announcement of the possible change came Monday. The proposed change would allow the different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units to decide for themselves whether to open up their membership to openly gay leaders. Tyrrell, who lives in the eastern Ohio town of Bridgeport, was removed last April. She says news of a change in the policy has her thrilled for parents and their children who've been excluded from scouting.

    Big unclaimed funds payday for Elyria
    Ohio has returned more than $3.4 million in unclaimed funds to a northeast Ohio city in what it says is the largest such payment in state history. The state's Department of Commerce director presented the check Monday to Elyria's mayor. The money came from shares of an insurance company the city had contracted with over a decade ago. Unclaimed funds are reported to the state for safekeeping until the rightful owners can be found. Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda says the money will help the city repay debt and cover one-time expenses it otherwise couldn't address.

    Judge outlines rules for T.J. Lane trial
    A judge in Ohio has outlined arrangements for the aggravated murder trial of an 18-year-old charged in the high school shooting deaths of three students. Judge David Fuhry in Chardon says jurors must be sequestered during deliberations in the trial of T.J. Lane. In an order filed last week, the judge also says jurors will be told Lane isn't subject to the death penalty. Lane was 17 at the time of the shootings. Jurors won't be questioned about the issue of punishment. The judge and attorneys plan to meet Wednesday to discuss a trial date. Prosecutors say Lane fired 10 shots at a group of students in the Chardon High School cafeteria last February. He was at the school waiting for a bus to his alternative school.

    Kasich plans education town hall
    Ohio's governor is planning an online "town hall" session Thursday evening on education. Gov. John Kasich says that the 6 p.m. session will discuss shaping learning for opportunity and success.  He says education leaders will be on the panel, and he encourages the public to submit questions on his personal Facebook page or via Twitter. The Republican governor is expected this week to lay out his proposals for Ohio's school funding and other education changes.  He also will soon detail his two-year state budget plan.

    Boccieri returning to politics, files to challenge Gibbs
    Former Northeast Ohio congressman John Boccieri is returning to politics. The Alliance Democrat lost his reelection bid in 2010 to Republican Jim Renacci.  The Plain Dealer reports Boccieri filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commision and he says he’ll likely challenge Holmes County Republican Bob Gibbs for his seat in 2014. Boccieri says he’ll also consider a run for Representative Tim Ryan’s seat if the Niles Democrat decides to run for governor. Boccieri says he may also run for statewide office. The Canton district he served for one term was split three ways in the redistricting plan that took effect in the last election.

    Ohio congressional delegation looking into VA wait times
    Members of Ohio's congressional delegation say military veterans are waiting too long for VA claims. 15 of the state's members of Congress — Democrats and Republicans — sent a letter Monday to the leader of the Department of Veteran Affairs. They say the lengthy backlog of VA claims for veterans is "unacceptable." The letter came after the Dayton Daily News published a story noting that Ohio veterans are waiting an average of 278 days to get claims processed. That's 16 days longer than the national average. VA spokeswoman Meagan Lutz acknowledged that the agency received the letter Monday and will respond to congressional leaders' concerns. Lutz said the VA is transitioning to a digital, paperless system to speed claims processing.

    Ohio may make drivers buy new license plates
    Ohio may force motorists to replace their license plates after seven years. Currently, drivers are required to replace plates only when the numbers and letters become unreadable. But a budget proposal from the Department of Public Safety would require replacement after seven years. The Plain Dealer reports that the same proposal would also retire all red, white and blue bicentennial plates, along with the older gold-tinted plates, in December. In a letter to Gov. John Kasich, Public Safety Director Thomas Charles said the seven-year limit on plates would address concerns by law enforcement agencies about the difficulty of reading rusted and faded letters and numbers. The Department of Public Safety also is proposing a $10 fee to replace old plates.

    Franciscan brother’s suicide won’t affect Warren abuse claims
    An attorney says the suicide of a Franciscan brother accused of sexually abusing students at schools in Ohio and Pennsylvania won't affect claims arising in Warren, Ohio. Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said Monday that the death of Brother Stephen Baker won't affect claims by alleged victims at Warren's John F. Kennedy High School three decades ago. He said more former Kennedy students have come forward to allege abuse by Baker since the Jan. 16 disclosure of financial settlements in 11 cases in Warren. Since then, claims have emerged at another school where Baker taught and coached, Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, Pa. Between the two, Garabedian said more than 25 additional claims of abuse have emerged since the settlements were announced. There was no breakdown by school.

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