Around Ohio: Three plead not guilty in Mahoning County corruption investigation; Akron Zoo plans contest to name snow leopard cubs; Ohio looking for way to trim cost for grass trimming

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3 plead not guilty in corruption probe

Cleveland -- The three defendants in a Northeast Ohio corruption case have pleaded not guilty and have been ordered not to leave the state without the court's permission.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally and Mahoning County Auditor Michael Sciortino were indicted in Cuyahoga County on charges that include racketeering and bribery. Unsuccessful Mahoning County prosecutor candidate Martin Yavorcik faces many of the same charges.

The allegations concerning McNally stem from his time as a Mahoning County commissioner.

A judge set $15,000 bonds for all three May 29.

The men are accused of working with a Youngstown businessman to prevent Mahoning County from moving county offices to another site.

Attorneys for the men said they're confident their clients will be cleared of all charges.

-- Associated Press

Zoo plans contest to name leopard cubs

Akron -- The Akron Zoo plans to have a naming contest this summer for a pair of snow leopards born in mid-April.

The zoo announced the births May 28. The male cub and female cub born April 14 remain in a special area with their mother. They aren't expected to go on public display until late June or early July.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports snow leopards are considered an endangered species, with possibly 4,000 left in the wild.

Zoo spokesman David Barnhardt says the cubs weigh about 6 pounds and are walking and beginning to climb.

It was the second successful litter for the cubs' parents, mother Shanti and father Roscoe. Two male cubs born in 2012 now are at zoos in Michigan and Rhode Island.

-- Associated Press

State to trim cost

for grass trimming

Dayton -- The state is spending roughly $1 million in search of a less costly and easier way to cut the grass and manage the trees and shrubs along Ohio's interstates and highways.

The Dayton Daily News reports that the effort began last year with the state putting up $177,000 for the first phase of a consulting contract with the Kent-based Davey Resource Group. The company's recommended changes included spraying chemicals in certain areas to limit the growth of grass and weeds.

But the project's second phase is pricier. The latest contract with the company will cost taxpayers $1,002,048, the newspaper reports.

A state transportation official says Ohio is trying to be more efficient with vegetation management, while ensuring that animals are kept off the highway.

The consultant is expected to present alternatives to mowing the grass at the state's usual rate of four times a year, along with ideas to manage heavy bushes, shrubs and trees along highways. The project is slated to take three years before final recommendations are made to the state's transportation department.

-- Associated Press

Jail offers help to jailed veterans

Lorain -- A jail in Northeast Ohio is reaching out to incarcerated military veterans through a new program.

The sheriff's office in Lorain County, west of Cleveland, says military veterans who are jailed will get some extra help and attention through the Veterans Justice Outreach Program.

If the jailed veterans qualify, they'll be referred to an outreach specialist who will try to help with re-entering society, mental health problems, medical care, housing and employment.

The idea is to identify veterans who have entered the criminal justice system and are in need of treatment services instead of incarceration.

Sheriff's Office Sgt. James Gordon tells The Morning Journal of Lorain that the veterans served their country and should be treated with respect.

-- Associated Press

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