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OHIO STATE-TEAM DOCTOR

Board reviews whether others failed to report accused doctor

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The State Medical Board's executive director says it has fast-tracked investigations related to whether licensees failed to report concerns about Ohio State University team doctor Richard Strauss decades ago. Some of the late doctor's accusers allege that a student health director and other medical colleagues were among school employees who knew concerns about Strauss but failed to stop him. The medical board's executive director confirmed Thursday that related investigations have been opened and it hopes to wrap those up “very soon." She didn't name the medical professionals involved. Because of confidentiality restrictions, the board generally doesn't disclose such details unless they face disciplinary action.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA-OHIO

Ohio reaches first year of state medical marijuana sales

CLEVELAND (AP) — Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of sales of medical marijuana in Ohio. The state says about 78,000 people have received physician recommendations and have registered with the state to use cannabis. Some 55,000 people have made purchases. Earlier figures show 71% of those who've registered are 40 or older and 29% are over the age of 59. The first person who bought medical marijuana at a dispensary last January says cannabis has helped her but complained about the price. The state says prices have dropped appreciably for both flowers and other products in the last year.

SUFFRAGE MEMORIAL-OHIO STATEHOUSE

Few statehouses feature memorials to actual historical women

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A proposal to erect a memorial to Ohio women who fought for voting rights would add the Statehouse to a small group of state capitols with monuments to actual female figures from U.S. history. Members of the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission proposed the memorial Thursday to the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board. Currently, all monuments to actual historical figures on the Ohio Statehouse grounds are of men, with women portrayed as mythological representations. Connecticut's Statehouse features a statue of former Gov. Ella Grasso and Utah has a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon, the country's first female state senator.

FATAL FIRE CHARGES

Man accused of killing wife, children wants trial by judges

LONDON, Ohio (AP) — A man charged with killing his wife and two children in an arson fire at their Ohio home in 2008 wants a three-judge panel and not a jury to hear and decide his case. An attorney for 59-year-old Peter Romans asked Wednesday in Madison County Common Pleas Court that two judges be appointed to serve on that panel with the current judge. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Romans will be allowed to change his mind and opt for a jury trial after the judges are selected. Romans has pleaded not guilty to charges including aggravated murder and aggravated arson.

RETIRED PUBLIC EMPLOYEES-BENEFITS

Retired public employees to see cuts in health care benefits

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Thousands of retired public employees will have to pay more of their health care costs starting in 2022 after trustees for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System voted to reduce health care benefits. The trustees voted 9-2 Wednesday on changes that will affect current and future retirees. Those include cuts to the monthly allowance paid to Medicare-eligible retirees to help offset health care costs. They also include eliminating the health care plan for retirees not eligible for Medicare. Officials say there isn't enough money to fund health care. They say the changes are needed to keep the health care trust fund solvent.

ODELL BECKHAM-WARRANT

Warrant issued for Odell Beckham after video shows butt swat

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Police in New Orleans say a misdemeanor simple battery warrant has been issued for Cleveland Browns wide receiver and former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr. The warrant comes as video posted on social media appears to show Beckham swatting a security officer's backside during LSU's locker room celebration after Monday night's national championship game in the Superdome. The Browns issued a statement saying Beckham and his representatives are cooperating with authorities “to appropriately address the situation.” The arrest warrant follows another post-game controversy involving Beckham. LSU has acknowledged contacting NCAA officials about Beckham apparently handing out cash to Tigers players after the championship game.

GM-BATTERY PLANT

GM picks site for new electric battery plant in Ohio

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — General Motors is planning to build a new electric battery cell factory in Ohio next to the site of a former car assembly plant it shut down last year. GM and Korea's LG Chem are behind the project they say will create about 1,100 jobs near Youngstown. GM announced Tuesday that it has selected a 160-acre site for the new plant in Lordstown in northeast Ohio. GM stopped making cars at its Lordstown assembly plant last March after 50 years of production. It later sold the factory to a newly formed company that wants to make electric pickup trucks.

BC-MAYOR'S GRANDSON-ASSAULT CHARGE

Cleveland mayor's grandson pleads to misdemeanor at trial

CLEVELAND (AP) — The grandson of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in the midst of his trial on a felonious assault charge for what prosecutors say was an attack on the grandson's girlfriend. Cleveland.com reports 22-year-old Frank Q. Jackson on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge during the second day of testimony in a Cleveland courtroom. A judge sentenced Jackson to 18 months' probation. Mayor Jackson, who was in the courtroom, wouldn't answer questions afterward but said he was happy for his grandson. A county prosecutor said a deal was struck after evaluating key witness testimony.

BOY SCOUTS-CHILD PORN

Ex-Boy Scout leader sentenced for recording boys, child porn

CLEVELAND (AP) — A former Ohio Boy Scout leader has received 30 years in federal prison for secretly recording boys inside pool locker rooms and his home and for distributing child pornography. Thirty-nine-year-old Thomas Close, of Shelby, was sentenced Wednesday in Cleveland after pleading guilty in September to multiple counts of sexual exploitation of children, receiving and distributing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Prosecutors say Close, whose nickname was “Aqua Joe" for his role as a swim instructor, recorded boys from 2011 through 2018. Investigators say Close shared videos online of boys he recorded changing clothes before and after swimming and showering.

FATAL AKRON FIRE

Judge: Man accused in arson deaths competent to stand trial

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man accused of killing nine neighbors in two arson fires has been found competent to stand trial. A judge in Akron made that ruling Tuesday at a hearing for Stanley Ford. The 60-year-old Akron man has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges. Ford could be sentenced to the death penalty if convicted. He is accused of killing two adults in 2016 and two adults and five children in 2017. Neither Ford's attorneys nor the prosecutors are allowed to comment on the case due to a gag order by the judge.