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Federal sites to reopen in Ohio
Other morning headlines: Akron man convicted of raping and killing toddler asks for clemency; House Republicans prepare to sue Governor Kasich

  • Federal sites to reopen in Ohio
  • New security measures added for Columbus Marathon
  • More tourism board members appointed
  • Ohio abortion clinics shutting down
  • Akron man convicted of raping and killing toddler asks for clemency
  • House Republicans to sue Governor Kasich
  • Supervisors reassigned at prison where Castro was held
  • U of Akron administrators announce more cuts
  • Competency hearing set in sledgehammer slayings case
  • Federal sites to reopen in Ohio
    Ohio sites closed during the partial shutdown of the federal government will begin welcoming back visitors after Congress approved a measure to end the closures.

    Visitor centers, restrooms and other areas at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northeast Ohio are back in service. The park south of Cleveland encouraged runners and bicyclists to return to its trails on Thursday. A statement from the park's chief ranger says the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also is resuming operations.

    In southwest Ohio, WHIO-TV in Dayton reports the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force also was expected to reopen Thursday. The facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base had been open only one day since the shutdown began Oct. 1.

    New security measures added for Columbus Marathon
    New security measures at Ohio's biggest marathon will require athletes wishing to pick up belongings after the race to place them in clear plastic bags provided by the marathon.

    The updated measures for the Columbus Marathon also ban non-athletes from the course and prohibit anyone but registered runners or walkers from crossing the finish line. Organizers of Sunday's race warn that even people carrying a child in their arms as they cross the line risk disqualification.

    Races around the country have beefed up security following the April Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured hundreds. Columbus is also banning large bags or backpacks carried by spectators who plan to sit in bleachers at the start.

    Eighteen thousand people are expected to run in the marathon and half-marathon.

    More tourism board members appointed
    The governor has appointed two more people to a state advisory panel that has lacked members for almost a year after the law that created it took effect.

    Governor John Kasich was required to appoint nine members to the TourismOhio Advisory Board by last November. Kasich appointed two people Wednesday; Brian Ross of Galena, and Gregory Scheid of Mason. The governor appointed three other members Tuesday.

    The law creating the panel is aimed at bolstering Ohio's tourism business, with board members helping the state's development department and its tourism office market Ohio.

    A spokeswoman for the Ohio Development Services Agency defended the vacancies last month by saying the agency's director took over in late March and wanted to understand the issue better.

    Ohio abortion clinics shutting down
    A report says two Ohio abortion clinics are shutting down with a third closure possible.

    The closures come amid continued attempts by Republican lawmakers to restrict abortions and also at a time when abortions have slightly increased in the state.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports the state Department of Health last week rejected an appeal to stay open by the Lebanon Road Surgery Center in Sharonsville in southwest Ohio.

    That decision followed September's closure of the Cleveland Center for Women's Health.

    Capital Care Network of Toledo remains open while it appeals a state closure order because it does not have a transfer agreement with a hospital in case of complications from an abortion procedure.

    Toledo's other abortion clinic, Center for Choice, closed in June for similar reasons.

    Akron man convicted of raping and killing toddler asks for clemency
    The state parole board will soon release its recommendation on whether an Akron man who raped and killed his girlfriend’s toddler daughter should die for that crime. 

    40 year old Ronald Phillips of Akron was convicted of raping and killing 3 year old Sheila Marie Evans in 1993. His attorney Timothy Sweeney told the parole board no court ever knew about the violent environment Phillips was raised in because his defense team didn’t do enough research. 
    “That’s inexcusable. That’s a breakdown in what the constitution requires for a capital trial.”

    But Summit County assistant prosecutor Brad Gessner said he thinks the allegations of abuse are a strategy, and that Phillips’ sentence is appropriate. 

    “You were told by defense counsel at the beginning of this: ‘Ronald Phillips is not and was not a monster,’" Gessner said. "I take exception to that.”

    Phillips is scheduled for execution on November 13.

    House Republicans prepare to potentially sue Governor Kasich
    Ohio House Republicans who are against a Medicaid expansion plan spearheaded by John Kasich are preparing to possibly sue the governor.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports the GOP lawmakers are angry about Kasich's plan to take Medicaid expansion to the state controlling board. They laid out their arguments for the lawsuit in a formal protest filed this week. 

    39 GOP representatives signed a letter protesting Kashich's plan.

    The governor wants approval from the seven-member legislative-spending oversight committee to approve more than 2.5 billion dollars in federal money to cover 275 thousand additional Ohioans under Medicaid. 

    Legislators say the governor is violating Ohio law by circumventing the clear intent of the General Assembly.

    Supervisors reassigned at prison where Castro was held
    There has been more fallout from the suicide of Cleveland kidnapper, Ariel Castro, at the prison where he was being held.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports that the warden and second-in-command at the Correctional Reception Center have been reassigned.

    The announcement came this week through an internal memo from prisons chief Gary Mohr.

    Warden Rhonda Richard will become warden at the Madison Correctional Institution, while Charlie Heiss, deputy warden of operations, was moved to a similar position at the Richland Correctional Institution in Mansfield.

    Two corrections officers at the Correctional Reception Center filed false log reports the night of Castro’s suicide. They are still under investigation, and have been suspended with pay pending the results.

    U of Akron administrators announce more cuts
    50 employee positions are among the cuts administrators at Akron University are planning to make in order to balance the budget. Administrators presented the nearly-balanced budget Wednesday.  The university has been working to resolve a nearly $28 million budget deficit. Administrators say a majority of the cuts are vacant positions, or ones that will soon become vacant through retirement or attrition.  100 positions were cut over the summer. Those combined cuts are expected to lower personnel expenses by $12 million.

    Competency hearing set in sledgehammer slayings case 
    A judge has scheduled a competency hearing for a 19-year-old man charged in the bludgeoning deaths of a northeast Ohio couple.

    Shawn Ford Jr. has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the April slayings of Jeffrey and Margaret Schobert in their home in New Franklin, near Akron. Authorities say they were beaten with a sledgehammer.

    The Akron Beacon Journal reports two psychological evaluations determined Ford is competent to stand trial, but his attorney declined to immediately accept the accuracy and authenticity of those reviews.

    The Summit County judge handling the case says he doesn't have concerns about Ford's competency but has scheduled a hearing Oct. 28 to hear psychologists' testimony on the issue.

    A 14-year-old boy also is charged as a juvenile in the slayings.

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