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As Slagle’s execution looms, prosecutors and defense ask for mercy
Other morning headlines: Rural school district to allow employees to carry guns; June update on how Ohio's casinos are faring financially
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • As Slagle’s execution looms, both prosecutors and defense ask for mercy
  • Rural Tuscarawas Co. school district to allow employees to carry guns
  •  June update out today on how Ohio's casinos are faring financially
  • Steubenville grand jury to reconvene today in publicized rape case
  • State wants to spend $4 million to fix aging Akron dam
  • Employers pay hundreds of millions in taxes on old state debt
  • Proposal would help veterans ensure they get due bonuses
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame parade to increase security
  • Gas prices edge up, expected to stabilize 
  • As Slagle’s execution looms, both prosecutors and defense ask for mercy
    Prosecutors and defense attorneys are both planning to ask the Ohio Parole Board to spare a condemned man who fatally stabbed a Cleveland woman 17 times. The unusual presentation is scheduled today in Columbus on behalf of death row inmate Billy Slagle. Attorneys for the 44-year-old Slagle have long argued he deserves mercy because he was just 18 at the time of the slaying and already a chronic alcoholic with a chaotic upbringing. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty announced last week he is asking that Slagle's sentence be commuted to life without parole using the same arguments. Slagle is scheduled to die Aug. 7 for killing neighbor Mari Ann Pope in 1986 during a burglary while two children she was watching at the time were home.

    Rural Tuscarawas Co. school district to allow employees to carry guns
    A rural school district in Tuscarawas County  will allow some employees to carry guns beginning this fall. The Newcomerstown Village School District board has approved the policy authorizing employees designated by the board and superintendent to carry guns. The Times-Reporter says the district released few details of the plan that will go into effect in the coming school year. Those carrying guns must get tactical training and be recertified by the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Department annually. They also must have a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Schools officials say the policy should help keep students safe.

    June update out today on how Ohio's casinos are faring financially
    June revenue reports scheduled for release today will give statewide totals for the month for the state's budding casino gambling industry.  For May, Cleveland casino gained very slightly, with revenues of $20 million. The casinos in Columbus and Toledo continued to see drops in their revenues. Cincinnati’s casino, which opened in March, saw a 10-percent increase in revenues in May to nearly $20 million. Ohio collects 33 percent in taxes from the casinos and distributes them to the state's 88 counties, its school districts and host cities, among others.

    Steubenville grand jury to reconvene today in publicized rape case
    A Steubenville jury is ready to renew its investigation into whether other laws were broken in the rape of a 16-year-old girl. One of the key issues before the panel set to meet today is whether adults who are required to report crimes knew early on of the rape last August but didn't say anything. The panel last met May 24, then adjourned to give investigators overseen by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine time to gather more evidence. A judge in March convicted two high school football players of raping the West Virginia girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer.

    State wants to spend $4 million to fix aging Akron dam
    The Ohio Department of Natural Resources wants to spend $4 million to fix an aging dam in Akron that officials say is no longer safe. The Ohio Controlling Board was scheduled to vote Monday on funding the Tuscarawas River dam project that has been requested by the ODNR. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the earthen dam, which is 26 feet high and 1,000 feet long, doesn't meet safety standards and shows other deficiencies. Plans call for hardening the existing embankment with about 12,500 cubic yards of concrete topped with additional soil. That will keep water from going over its top during major storms. Work won't begin until after the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament July 31 through Aug. 4 at the nearby Firestone Country Club.

    Employers pay hundreds of millions in taxes on old state debt
    Ohio employers have been paying millions in higher taxes for the state's failure to repay a federal loan to cover unemployment benefits during the recession. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the state's failure to repay the $1.5 billion federal debt has left Ohio employers with a nearly $275 million tax increase over the past 18 months. Employers pay state and federal payroll taxes to fund jobless benefits. But Ohio was among 36 states forced to borrow from the federal government to keep paying jobless benefits when the recession hit. The newspaper reports that Ohio has repaid about $1 billion in principle the past two years. And Gov. John Kasich's spokesman says the state will continue to look for ways to pay the remaining debt down.

    Proposal would help veterans ensure they get due bonuses
    An Ohio legislator and state treasurer candidate wants income tax returns used to help locate veterans eligible for Ohio bonuses and make sure they don't miss out on their money. Voters in 2009 approved a $200 million bond issue funding bonuses for eligible veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq war eras. But there has been concern that thousands still may not know about the money. Democratic State Rep. Connie Pillich, of suburban Cincinnati, says her bill would provide space on Ohio income tax returns for taxpayers to indicate whether they, their spouses or dependents were active duty military during the bonus periods. Names, addresses and terms of service would be forwarded to the Department of Veterans Services to help reach veterans.

    Pro Football Hall of Fame parade to increase security
    Police plan to increase security for the Pro Football Hall of Fame parade on Aug. 3 in Canton. Police tell The Repository newspaper it's a response to disorderly conduct along the route last year, when police arrested dozens of people before the parade and accidentally shot and injured one man. The city will have more officers on the street and will get help from the State Highway Patrol. The parade is part of a weekend celebration for the hall of fame in Canton. The renovated facility will induct seven new members and mark its 50th anniversary.

    Gas prices edge up, expected to stabilize
    Ohio gas prices have increased slightly to start the post-holiday work week, but analysts say they should remain relatively stable. The state average for a gallon of regular gas is $3.38 in today's survey from AAA and its partners. That's up 8 cents from last week. But it's 56 cents lower than at the same time last month. The Ohio price is below the national average of $3.47. Analysts say gas prices have stabilized since refineries started turning out more gasoline after completing springtime maintenance.

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