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AP-US-OHIO-STATE-FOOTBALL-PLAYERS-CHARGED

2 Ohio State football players plead not guilty to rape

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Two former Ohio State football players have pleaded not guilty to holding a woman against her will and raping her. Defensive backs Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint made an initial appearance Thursday in Franklin County Municipal Court in Columbus. Their attorneys entered the pleas on their behalf. Both were kicked off the team Wednesday after they were charged. The accuser told police that on Feb. 4 she was having consensual sex with Riep before Wint came into the room and both forced her into sex. Riep is a cornerback entering his senior season. Wint is a redshirt senior who would have been in the mix at safety.

FBI-OHIO SHOOTING

FBI says probe into Dayton shooter's motives nearing end

CINCINNATI (AP) — The FBI says its investigation into the motivations of a young gunman who killed nine people last year in Dayton's crowded entertainment area is nearing an end. Chris Hoffman recently took over as special agent in charge of the Cincinnati office. He said Thursday that he can't give a definite timetable but expects it to wrap up soon. Nearby, police fatally shot 24-year-old Connor Betts about 30 seconds after he opened fire early in the morning of Aug. 4 with an assault-type gun. The FBI said soon afterward it was investigating his interest in “violent ideologies.”

LAKE ERIE ALGAE

Ohio wants to put Lake Erie on a new, strict pollution diet

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Ohio is calling for new pollution runoff limits for western Lake Erie where toxic algae blooms have flourished the past decade. State leaders announced Thursday that they want to set tougher regulations on the runoff that's feeding the outbreaks. It's a significant shift in Ohio's strategy to clean up the lake. Environmental groups had been critical of the state's past efforts. A lawsuit pending in a federal court had been seeking to force new regulatory standards that the state now appears poised to adopt. The process includes a close review of the pollution sources and making an action plan.

BILLIONAIRE'S SON FOUND DEAD

Man gets prison for fatal drugs sold to billionaire's son

CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio man was sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison for selling cocaine laced with heroin and fentanyl to a Greek billionaire's son who was found dead in a Cleveland hotel room. Terry Lee Christian pleaded guilty earlier to charges related to selling the drugs that killed the 34-year-old Sokratis S. Kokkalis in July 2018 and for using a cellphone in a drug transaction. He was sentenced Wednesday. Kokkalis's father is Socrates P. Kokkalis. The elder Kokkalis is the founder of a Greek telecommunications company and chairman of the Greek soccer team, Olympiacos F.C. His son was the team's vice president.

EXCESSIVE FORCE-KINDERGARTNER

Employee accused of excessive force on kindergartner fired

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio school safety and security employee has been fired after officials said he used excessive force on a kindergarten student. The Canton Repository reports the Canton City school board voted Monday to fire Shawn Poole for malfeasance of duty. The newspaper, citing a termination letter obtained through a public records request, said an investigation found Poole used excessive force on Jan. 21 when he tried to stop a 6-year-old girl at McGregor Elementary from running out of the cafeteria. Poole admitted to picking up and carrying the student. He said some of the witnesses could not have seen the interaction. Poole called their characterization of his demeanor incorrect. He could not be reached for comment.

WOMAN KILLED-DEATH PENALTY

Death penalty case in woman's murder now in hands of jury

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The death penalty case against a man charged with raping and killing a woman two years ago is now in the hands of an Ohio jury. The Columbus Dispatch reports that jurors in Franklin County heard closing arguments Wednesday in the trial of Anthony Pardon in the January 2018 murder of 24-year-old Rachael Anderson of Columbus. Prosecutors cited DNA evidence on the body and on appliance cords used to tie the victim up. Defense attorney Larry Thomas argued that the prosecution case was based on “speculation” and dismissed DNA and cellphone evidence as inexact and not providing conclusive proof.

OHIO STATE-FOOTBALL PLAYERS CHARGED

2 Ohio State football players dismissed amid rape charges

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Two Ohio State University football players have been kicked off the team after being charged with kidnapping and rape. Coach Ryan Day Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint “did not live up to our standards and my expectations.” They were booked into jail early Wednesday and are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning. It was not clear whether they had attorneys. The woman told police she started having consensual sex with Riep before Wint came into the room and both raped her.

AP-US-TRUMP-OPPORTUNITY-ZONE-HERO

Trump's story about veteran's comeback was not quite true

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump's story in his State of the Union address about a homeless vet who turned his life around thanks to a company using the administration's "Opportunity Zone" tax breaks was not completely true. Tony Rankins, who was in the House chamber for the speech at Trump's invitation, landed a job refurbishing a Nashville hotel and moved into an apartment months before a final list of neighborhoods eligible for the tax breaks was published. Rankins doesn't work at a site taking advantage of the breaks now either, and never has, though his boss says he will work at a property making use of the program next month.

SHOT DEAD IN DRIVEWAY

Authorities: Shootout at Ohio home leaves 2 dead in driveway

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a shootout in the driveway at a southwestern Ohio home left two people dead. The Greene County Sheriff's office said deputies were called to the Yellow Springs home around 11 a.m. Wednesday. Sheriff Gene Fischer says a preliminary investigation indicated an armed man confronted a vehicle pulling into the driveway and was shot by the homeowner, a passenger who has a concealed carry permit. Fischer said the ex-wife of the homeowner, also armed, then pulled up in a vehicle and was killed in an exchange of gunfire with the homeowner. The names of those involved weren't immediately released.

XGR-INCOME TAX LIMITS

Analyst: income tax limits plan could harm Ohio bond rating

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A fiscal analyst has warned lawmakers that a proposal to make it harder to raise the state income tax could harm Ohio's bond rating. At issue is a proposed constitutional amendment that would impose a supermajority requirement in both chambers for the General Assembly to raise such taxes. Zach Schiller is research director at the nonpartisan organization Ohio Policy Matters. Gongwer News Service reports Schiller told the Senate Ways and Means Committee Tuesday that other states with similar supermajority requirements have seen their credit ratings lowered. Gongwer reports no one testified last week at a hearing set aside for supporters.