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Trump Continues to Dominate GOP Despite Kasich's Attack Ads

Today's top headlines heard on Morning Edition:  Trump continues his dominance over GOP, Gov. Kasich returns to New Hampshire and testimony in dispute about Ohio voting laws wraps up.

Morning headlines for Friday, December 4, 2015:

Trump continues to dominate GOP despite Kasich's attack ads
A new CNN/ORC poll released this morning shows Republican voters heavily favor Donald Trump. About one in three voters favor Trump giving him a 20 point lead over the next closest candidate, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, 36-16. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson dropped to third place with 14 percent support. Despite a series of attack ads targeting Trump, Ohio Governor John Kasich continues his low polling at 2 percent. A majority, 52 percent, of Republican voters said Trump has the best chance of any Republican presidential candidate to win the general election in November.

Gov. Kasich returns to New Hampshire
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is back in New Hampshire for three days of presidential campaign events. Kasich spoke to the influential Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington on Thursday before heading to the early primary state for an evening town hall meeting in Salem. The Republican governor's itinerary for Friday included a town hall meeting and visit to a drug rehab center in Manchester. He also was to attend a county GOP's Christmas Party in Lebanon. On Saturday, Kasich planned to be at town hall meetings in Claremont and New London. Kasich still is polling among the lower tier of candidates in the crowded GOP field. He's betting big that New Hampshire can help propel him toward the nomination.

Testimony in Ohio voting rights lawsuit wraps up
Testimony has concluded in a legal dispute over changes to voting rules in swing state Ohio. At issue are a series of Republican-backed changes that Democrats allege disproportionately burden minority voters and those who lean Democratic. Such policies include the elimination of a week of early voting in which Ohioans could also register to vote, known as "golden week." Plaintiffs, who include the state's Democratic Party, want a federal judge to strike down the rules. They claim the burden on voters outweighs any benefit to the state. But the state's lawyers say the voting changes were minor and Ohioans have many opportunities to vote. Testimony in the case that's before U.S. District Judge Michael Watson wrapped up Thursday. Both sides are now expected to file closing briefs with the court.

Sinclair Community College partners on drone research
An Ohio college says it will partner with an Indiana university on drone research. A Sinclair Community College official says the college planned to sign an agreement Friday to cooperate with Indiana State University on unmanned aerial vehicles studies. The Dayton Daily News reports that Sinclair's vice president of workforce development and corporate services says the latest partnership will focus mostly on uses for drones in agriculture and data analytics technology. The newspaper reports that Norris says the Dayton college and Indiana State have been in discussions for a long time leading up to the agreement. Sinclair officials say the Dayton school has partnerships with several other schools including Ohio State University, the University of North Dakota and Southern State Community College in Wilmington.

Increased child-support collections
Child support payments are being collected at a rate not seen since before the recession. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says Ohio collected 69 percent of child support owed during the last federal fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That's higher than the national average of 64 percent. Ohio has one of the largest child support systems in the county. The state reports that it's collected $1.8 billion on behalf of more than a million children during the most recent federal fiscal year. Officials have ramped up efforts to improve child support collections. For instance, an expanded waiver and compromise program allows caseworkers to waive some debt owed to the state if parents begin making regular payments to their children.

Suspended police officer pleads not guilty to charges
A northeast Ohio police officer has pleaded not guilty to charges including bribery, menacing by stalking and tampering with evidence. The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports that suspended Elyria police officer Thomas Orsik pleaded not guilty Thursday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court. Orsik's attorney told the newspaper after the hearing that his client denies all the charges and intends to fight them. Police and prosecutors have said very little about the nature of the charges. Orsik was suspended from the police force in September while under investigation for the allegations and has been on paid leave since Sept. 4. He also is the subject of an internal police investigation. Orsik was indicted last month. He has been a police officer in Elyria since 2006.

Dayton turns off traffic cameras, waiting if Supreme Court accepts its challenge
A southwestern Ohio city says it will shut down its traffic light and speed ticket cameras by year's end but continues to pursue its challenge to a state law restricting their use. The Dayton Daily News reports Dayton is waiting to hear whether the Ohio Supreme Court will take its case challenging state law requiring officers to be present when tickets are issued. Dayton was among cities that sued Ohio over the law. A lower court ruled this summer that the new law doesn't violate Dayton's home-rule authority. Dayton spokeswoman Toni Bankston said Thursday that the cameras remained on with officers at the sites while data was collected on traffic patterns and accidents. She says revenue from the cameras has dropped significantly since officers were put at the sites.

Doctor pleads guilty in pain pill case
The government says an Ohio doctor and an employee at a Columbus medical clinic have pleaded guilty to illegally distributing pain pills. The U.S. Attorney's office says the Columbus Southern Medical Center prescribed painkillers to patients without properly examining them and focused on patients addicted to pain pills and other drugs. Prosecutors say Dr. David Rath of Alexandria and Karen Climer of Columbus each pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to one count of conspiracy to illegally distribute oxycodone. The government says Rath supervised two physician assistants who each saw up to 100 patients a day while Climer scheduled between 200 and 400 patients daily knowing that many were oxycodone addicts. Messages were left for attorneys for Rath and Climer.

Man showed hostile behavior before shooting self in Columbus museum
Documents show that a former security guard who took his own life at a contemporary art museum on Ohio State's Columbus campus had a history of hostile behavior toward co-workers. Sixty-three-year-old Dean Sturgis shot himself in the head at the Wexner Center for the Arts on Sunday. The Columbus Dispatch reports Sturgis received written reprimands and a one-day suspension in 2006 and 2007 for verbal altercations with a supervisor and co-worker. He had resigned in 2009 to avoid being fired. A search warrant showed Sturgis had been at the Wexner Center two days before his death. A witness said he made disparaging comments about the artwork. Officials said Sturgis' suicide involved him vandalizing some art works on loan to the center for an exhibit. Campus police are investigating.