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Fired OSU band director says he was fixing culture

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The fired Ohio State University marching band director says he was working to change a culture of hazing and inappropriate rituals among members when he was dismissed.

Jonathan Waters detailed the changes he was trying to make in a seven-page document prepared when the university began investigating allegations of problems with the band. His attorney released the document Wednesday night.

The university fired Waters last week after a two-month investigation concluded he knew about but failed to stop rituals that included students being pressured to march in their underwear, sing lewd songs, and perform sexually themed stunts that yielded often-explicit nicknames.

Waters says he was taking steps to change the culture of hazing, inappropriate behavior and vulgarity.

Also Wednesday, the band's alumni association issued a statement supporting Waters.


Poll: President Obama's approval still low in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A new poll shows President Barack Obama's approval rating is falling in Ohio.

The poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac (KWIHN'-uh-pee-ak) University in Connecticut says Obama's approval rating in Ohio has slipped to 36 percent. The same survey in May gave him a 39-percent approval rating.

The poll found a strong partisan divide when it comes to Obama, with an approval rating of just 4 percent among Republicans and 74 percent among Democrats.

Thursday's poll also says 49 percent of voters approved of the job Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is doing, while 40 percent approved of the job done by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.

The survey of 1,366 Ohio voters was conducted by phone from July 24-28. It has a margin of error of just under 3 percentage points.


Co-defendant testifies how Ohio teen was beaten

LEBANON, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio man who has already pleaded guilty to killing a 16-year-old boy last year testified that he and his co-defendant repeatedly beat the teen when he wouldn't give up his stash of money and drugs.

Michael Geldrich - who is facing life in prison after pleading guilty to murdering Dion Payne - on Wednesday testified in the aggravated murder trial of 40-year-old Michael Watson in Lebanon.

Geldrich described how he and Watson devised a plan to rob the teen drug dealer, then punched and kicked him into unconsciousness. They dropped him off at a hospital, and he later died.

The Dayton Daily News reports that Watson's attorney is maintaining there was no intent to kill Payne, and his client is overcharged with the crime of aggravated murder.


Ohio shuttle driver gets probation in death

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The driver of a central Ohio hospital shuttle bus that struck and killed one researcher and injured another has been sentenced to two years of probation and 80 hours of community service.

A Franklin County judge sentenced 63-year-old Karl Beem on Wednesday after finding him guilty of vehicular manslaughter.

Police say researchers David Newsom and Peter White were hit from behind while walking along a road at Nationwide Children's Hospital in May 2013. They were walking along a road where the sidewalk was blocked due to construction. Newsom died from his injuries.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Beem's attorney, in his closing statement, called it a "garden-variety, run-of-the-mill accident" that wouldn't have occurred if the men hadn't been walking in a roadway where they didn't belong.


Ohio mumps cases now number 469

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The number of mumps cases in the recent central Ohio outbreak has reached 469 cases.

Columbus Public Health says the number of cases linked to this year's outbreak in Franklin, Delaware and Madison counties is more than in the entire country last year.

Patients have ranged in age from 4 months to 80 years, with many cases linked to Ohio State University in Columbus. The illnesses date back to January.

Officials are still urging people to get the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination.

Ohio health officials also have been battling a measles outbreak in the state this year.


Prosecutor challenges Ohio prison release option

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A prosecutor says a procedure allowing the Ohio prisons director to recommend to judges early release for certain offenders violates the constitutional separation of powers.

At issue in a complaint by Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn is a law allowing the prisons chief to recommend early release for offenders who have served at least 80 percent of their sentence.

The motion filed in Scioto County court earlier this month says the law sets up an unconstitutional procedure that judges must follow when they get a recommendation from the prisons director.

Ohio enacted several changes to sentencing law in 2011 aimed at saving money by reducing the number of low-level offenders in prison.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction declined to comment.


Kroger restricts pseudoephedrine sales in W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Supermarket chain Kroger is tightening monthly purchase limits of cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine at its West Virginia stores.

The Charleston Gazette reports the new limits at Kroger's 40 pharmacies in the state will be effective in the coming weeks and are more restrictive than those under West Virginia law.

Kroger spokesman Carl York says the company didn't halt such sales because customers have legitimate health needs.

Pseudoephedrine also is used to illegally manufacture methamphetamine.

CVS in July announced it will no longer sell medications that solely contain pseudoephedrine at its 50 West Virginia stores and at 40 stores in neighboring states that are within 15 miles of the West Virginia border.

Ride Aid, Fruth Pharmacy and Walgreens also have stopped selling single-ingredient pseudoephedrine cold products in West Virginia.


Court hearing planned in Ohio in P&G protest case

CINCINNATI (AP) - Prosecutors and the attorneys are heading back to court in the case of nine Greenpeace activists facing felony charges for a stunning protest at Procter & Gamble's headquarters in Cincinnati.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Winkler set a hearing today to rule on pretrial matters.

Prosecutors said recently they had offered a plea settlement for the activists that would allow them to avoid prison time. They said only one defendant had expressed interest in pursuing a deal.

Without plea agreements, Winkler could set a trial date.

The activists are charged with burglary and vandalism for a March 4 protest in which they slipped into P&G and displayed huge banners from towers criticizing palm oil supplies used by the consumer products company that Greenpeace links to rainforest destruction.


Amusement park tries to set shaved-heads record

MASON, Ohio (AP) - A southwestern Ohio amusement park hopes to set a world record for the most heads shaved simultaneously to help raise awareness and money for the fight against cancer.

More than 200 hair stylists from Great Clips salons in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland, Lima and Toledo will shave heads Friday at Kings Island amusement park north of Cincinnati.

The Guinness Book of Records shows the current record at 182 heads shaved simultaneously. That was achieved by Cancer Council ACT-Canberra Relay for Life in Canberra, Australia on March 29.

The Kings Island initiative is part of its Kicks Cancer campaign.

Park visitors also can contribute to the campaign through Aug. 24 by buying a soccer ball and kicking it into the park fountain for a chance to win a new car.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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