Business tax only for roads, says state court

Columbus -- The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected using revenue raised from the state's new business tax for anything but highway upkeep.

The decision Dec. 7 is a significant blow to the 7-year-old tax, which lawmakers adopted to replace what was considered an outmoded and inefficient way of taxing businesses.

The court ruled 6-1 that the Commercial Activity Tax can still be applied to revenue of companies that make money selling fuel, but the money can't go into the state's general fund.

Builders, contractors, construction companies and engineers had sued over the tax. They said Ohio voters have repeatedly rejected the notion of diverting taxes raised from fuel sales to non-road work.

The court in 2009 upheld the tax when applied to grocery store food sales.

-- Associated Press

Authorities investigate airport murder/suicide

Cleveland -- The medical examiner's office has released the identity of the shooter in a murder-suicide in an employee parking lot at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

The shooter in the Dec. 9 incident was identified as 28-year-old Ahmad Alkahder. Police say he fatally shot his wife -- a Transportation Security Administration officer -- before turning the gun on himself.

The wife and a second TSA employee were commuting to work. Police say Alkahder apparently followed her to the off-site lot, blocked her in her car by his vehicle and then began firing.

Police say he fired at the other TSA agent but missed.

The name of the dead woman hasn't been released.

The shooting occurred at a lot north of the airport in an industrial area along Interstate 480.

-- Associated Press

Family ends lighting display after vandalism

Chillicothe -- A central Ohio family has decided to put an end to a long neighborhood tradition after vandals destroyed an elaborate front-yard Christmas light display.

The Hall family has been putting up the display for about three decades, and this year's version featured 30,000 lights. Hundreds of people drove into their Chillicothe-area cul-de-sac to see the show every year.

But vandals hit overnight Dec. 8, tearing up parts of the display and stealing others.

The Columbus Dispatch ( ) reports that the Halls spent Dec. 9 taking down what was left of it and have decided to put an end to the tradition.

Mike Hall said he has invested more than $7,000 into Christmas decorations and starts preparing it every October. He said the family considers it a Christmas card to the community.

-- Associated Press

Cedar Point tops off hill on new roller coaster

Sandusky -- Cedar Point says it has topped off its new roller coaster that will debut next spring.

Construction is moving ahead on the "winged" roller-coaster called GateKeeper that's designed to make riders feel like they're flying.

The park says it topped off the main 170-foot hill just after Thanksgiving.

The blue-steeled tubular coaster will have riders on seats that extend sideways from the track, with nothing above or below them.

The coaster will be built at the main entrance and will pass over arriving guests as it inverts riders and sends them upside-down.

GateKeeper is part of a roughly $30 million project overhauling the park's entrance.

-- Associated Press

Zoo to airlift 5,000

tadpoles to Puerto Rico

Cleveland -- The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will airlift nearly 5,000 crested-toad tadpoles to Puerto Rico for release into the wild.

The venture began Dec. 10 in an effort to bolster an endangered species in Puerto Rico.

Hatched last week, the tadpoles are narrower than a pencil eraser.

Within two to three weeks their tails will drop away and they will morph into the familiar frog-toad conformation.

The tadpoles are small enough to fit on a dime.

Zoo conservation and science curator Kristen Lukas told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer the program is a partnership of more than 20 zoos and is one of the few producing animals for introduction into the wild.

-- Associated Press