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Kasich adviser new state schools chief

Columbus -- Ohio's state school board picked Republican Gov. John Kasich's top education adviser March 12 as the new superintendent of public instruction.

Richard Ross was selected over acting Superintendent Michael Sawyers by a 10-6 vote of the state Board of Education, with Kasich appointees dominating Ross supporters.

The two finalists emerged from a list of 30 applicants.

Ross said he is excited to oversee the Ohio Department of Education and pledged to advocate the interests of the independent board despite coming from inside the governor's administration.

He helped craft Kasich's school-funding formula and education reform package, which has received mixed reactions from districts and educators.

Ross has been director for more than a year of the Governor's Office for 21st Century Education, after previously serving as superintendent of the Reynoldsburg schools in suburban Columbus.

-- Associated Press

Prosecutors say serial killer deserves death

Columbus -- Prosecutors say an Ohio serial killer convicted of killing 11 women and hiding their remains around his home got a fair trial, and that his conviction and death sentence should stand.

Responding to an appeal by convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell, prosecutors tell the Ohio Supreme Court that the Cleveland man is "the worst offender in the history of Cuyahoga County and arguably of the state of Ohio."

In an October appeal, Sowell's attorneys argued that his trial lawyers were his "chief saboteurs" and should have focused on sparing him from the death penalty, not arguing to jurors that he was innocent in the face of overwhelming evidence in the case and a confession.

Jurors found Sowell guilty of killing 11 women between June 2007 and July 2009.

-- Associated Press

Horses, dogs among 100 animals at home

Bellaire -- Authorities say they removed more than 100 animals from inside and around a woman's eastern Ohio home, including dogs, cats and about a dozen horses.

WTOV-TV reports sheriff's deputies had a warrant to look for emaciated and dead animals at the property in the Ohio River town of Bellaire.

A humane society official says it was heartbreaking to find so many animals in need of basics like water and food.

Goats, chickens and other animals also were taken from the property. It wasn't clear why the owner had so many animals.

Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas says the removal of the animals March 12 is part of an ongoing investigation. The creatures are expected to be treated by specialists.

No charges were immediately filed.

-- Associated Press

Man returns box with $50,000 in gold, silver

Canton -- Police say a Northeast Ohio scrap metal collector who found a small box containing nearly $50,000 in gold and silver won't face charges because he returned it all.

The Repository in Canton reports an employee of Hartville Coin & Jewelry put the box in a vehicle, but it fell out of the trunk as he drove away last week. Someone passing by scooped up the box, and police began using surveillance footage to track down the perpetrator.

Michael Swogger says a friend recognized Swogger's picture on the news and told him police were looking for him in the theft case. The 36-year-old Canton man says when he realized what was happening, he contacted police to return the box of gold coins, Canadian silver dollars and scrap gold on March 9.

-- Associated Press

106-year-old gets high school diploma

Columbus-- A 106-year-old woman who completed classes but didn't graduate in a dispute over a book has received her high school diploma.

The News Journal in Mansfield reports the Mount Vernon superintendent presented Reba Williams with the diploma March 13 at her apartment in Columbus. She even got to wear a traditional graduation cap brought by the retired Mount Vernon English teacher who urged the school board to award the diploma.

Williams has said she completed high school in Mount Vernon but was denied her diploma because she refused to read a final book assigned by a teacher. She'd read the book once and didn't want to read it again.

Williams says she hopes current students realize that learning is important and that they probably shouldn't follow her example.

-- Associated Press

Cuyahoga gets federal grant to fight violence against women

Cleveland -- Ohio's most populous county has landed a federal grant to reduce the number of women killed by husbands or boyfriends.

Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, was one of 12 communities nationwide receiving grants from the U.S. Department of Justice. The grants range from $100,000 to $200,000.

The grants were announced March 13 near Washington by Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder. The grants will address the high risk of abused women being killed by a husband or spouse.

The White House says women threatened with a weapon by a husband or boyfriend are 20 times more likely to subsequently be murdered than other abused women.

The grants will help identify potential victims and monitor high-risk offenders.

-- Associated Press

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