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Ohio State University fires marching band director

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State University has fired the director of its celebrated marching band amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues" including sexual harassment.

Jonathan Waters had led the band since 2012, and served in lesser capacities for a decade. His popular halftime shows drew millions of viewers on YouTube.

Fledgling university President Michael Drake said in a video statement Thursday that a two-month investigation uncovered a "sexualized" culture inside the band and determined Waters knew and failed to stop harassment.

Drake said the band season will go on as usual as the search for a new director begins.

Members of the 225-member band are scheduled to perform this weekend with the Columbus Symphony, in an annual event considered the unofficial start of its season.


Court throws out Chiquita terror payment claims

MIAMI (AP) - A divided federal appeals court has thrown out claims against produce giant Chiquita Brands International made by thousands of Colombians killed during years of bloody civil war.

A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that federal courts have no jurisdiction over the Colombian claims. The lawsuits accused Chiquita of assisting in the killings by paying $1.7 million to a right-wing paramilitary group. Chiquita formerly operated large banana plantations in Colombia.

The majority cited a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling imposing limits on attempts by foreigners to use U.S. courts to seek damages for human rights abuses abroad.

Chiquita praised the ruling in a written statement. Attorneys for the estimated 4,000 Colombians may ask the full 11th Circuit or the Supreme Court to consider the case.


Biden, in Ohio, urges infrastructure, job training

CINCINNATI (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden says investment in infrastructure and job training is needed to increase economic opportunities in the nation's cities.

Biden spoke Thursday at the National Urban League conference in Cincinnati. The conference's theme is "One Nation Underemployed."

Biden said the United States needs to increase its skilled workforce to meet new business needs and to improve roads, bridges and other transportation to spur growth.

Sprinkling his speech with quotes from civil rights leaders, Biden also blasted what he called efforts around the country to repress minority voting.

Earlier, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (ryns PREE'-bus) assured participants the GOP is making a serious, determined effort to build ties with minority voters.


Judge's removal requested in NE Ohio murder case

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Prosecutors in Akron have asked the Ohio Supreme Court to remove the judge slated to preside over the aggravated murder trial of a man charged in the drug-related slayings of four people.

Summit County prosecutors say Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands improperly asked prosecutors to drop death penalty specifications in Deshanon Haywood's trial. They didn't do so.

Prosecutors wrote in their motion that Rowlands wanted to spare the expense of a lengthy death penalty trial. Prosecutors argue Rowlands' request breaches judicial canons.

Rowlands declined to comment. Her office issued a statement that says she will file a response with the Supreme Court.

Haywood pleaded not guilty on multiple charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping after four people were shot in the head. Police say the slayings were heroin-related.


Judge OKs settlement ends Ohio workers comp case

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A judge has approved a lawsuit settlement that will see the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation paying out $420 million to state employers that were overcharged for insurance premiums.

Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County Judge Richard McMonagle tells The Associated Press the settlement he approved Thursday "is good for the workers."

The settlement ends a class-action lawsuit that dragged on for years. It creates a fund to repay businesses that were overcharged for workers compensation premiums from July 2001 to June 2009. More than 200,000 small business owners in the state were affected.

An earlier court ruling said Ohio's state insurance fund for injured workers set up an illegal rating system that resulted in employers being overcharged nearly $860 million.

Both sides said they were satisfied with the settlement.


Crowd sounds off about plan to rehab Cincy icons

CINCINNATI (AP) - Residents are sounding off about a taxpayer-supported $331 million plan to fix up two Cincinnati icons that have been listed among the nation's most endangered historic landmarks.

Hundreds of supporters and opponents of the plan came out to a convention center on Wednesday night to offer their opinions to Hamilton County commissioners who will decide the fate of the plan to rehab Music Hall and Union Terminal.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that most came to support the proposal. They held signs urging commissioners to "Save Our Icons."

Critics of the plan say it would be unfair to impose a quarter-cent sales tax increase to cover part of the project cost.

Commissioners must decide by Aug. 6 whether to put the proposed sales tax on the ballot.


Insurers owe more than $1.2M in refunds in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Federal officials say around 35,000 Ohioans will benefit from more than $1.2 million in refunds from insurance companies because of a provision in President Barack Obama's health care law.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the figures Thursday.

The law requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on medical care and quality improvement, or return the difference to consumers and employers.

Residents could see the money come back in one of several ways.

Employers can apply rebates in a way that benefits workers or take a discount on future premiums. Individual policyholders owed a rebate will either get a check, a reimbursement to their credit or debit card account or see a reduction in future premiums.


Lab finds no risk from bacteria at Ohio bakery

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - An independent lab has found that bacteria discovered at a commercial bakery in northeast Ohio poses no risk to public health.

Production at the Schwebel Baking Co. facility in Youngstown was stopped Tuesday after environmental sampling conducted by the company found an undetermined species of listeria, a naturally occurring bacteria.

The bakery reported the findings to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and immediately initiated a voluntary withdrawal of all products shipped to markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Test results found the listeria poses no health threat to workers or consumers.

Company president Paul Schwebel tells The (Youngstown) Vindicator that full production will resume soon.


Jim Kelly to handle HOF coin toss

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - Former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, who is recovering from cancer treatments, will participate in the coin toss at the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 3.

The Hall of Famer will represent Buffalo as an honorary captain, while former linebacker Harry Carson will be the New York Giants' honorary captain when the teams face off in the first NFL preseason game.

Kelly, inducted into the hall in 2002, in May completed radiation and chemotherapy sessions to treat sinus cancer, which spread from his jaw.

Kelly's top receiver, Andre Reed, is among the seven members of the hall's class this year.

"I have always said that God willing, I will be back in Canton every summer," Kelly said. "This year especially, I am so thankful that I can be on hand..."

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