Memorial for 11

serial-killing victims needs $250K

Cleveland -- Construction of a memorial at the Cleveland site where the remains of 11 women were found in a serial killer's home has been delayed because its funding is short by $250,000.

WOIO-TVreports that construction at Anthony Sowell's former property won't start as planned on Mother's Day.

Public and private funding would be used for the memorial at the site where Sowell's house once stood. The Mount Pleasant Ministerial Alliance has been working to create a memorial garden.

Sowell was found guilty in 2011 and sentenced to death. Many of his victims were drug addicts who were never reported missing.

Cost estimates for the project had initially ranged from $175,000 to $480,000. Proposed designs included a playground, stone walkways and a reflective pool.

-- Associated Press

Ohio unemployment rate drops to 6.1 percent

Columbus -- The state says Ohio's unemployment rate dropped in March to the lowest level in six years.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said Friday the seasonally adjusted rate in March was 6.1 percent, which was down from 6.5 percent in February. It's the state's lowest jobless rate since April 2008.

The state's rate has dipped below the national rate, which was 6.7 percent in both February and March.

The state says Ohio's nonfarm wage and salary employment increased 600 over the month, from 5,282,300 in February to 5,282,900 in March.

The number of unemployed workers in Ohio in March was 353,000, down 24,000 from 377,000 in February. The state says the number of unemployed has decreased by 68,000 in the past 12 months from 421,000.

-- Associated Press

Ohioans encouraged to dispose of

medications

Columbus -- The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy is encouraging Ohioans to participate in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's "Drug Take-Back Day" this coming weekend.

The event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 26 allows people to drop off expired or unused prescription medications. The DEA is coordinating with local law enforcement agencies, which will accept the discarded controlled substances at various places around the state.

Ohio State Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Kyle Parker notes that a recent survey found four-in-10 teens who have misused or abused a prescription drug got it from their parents' medicine cabinet.

Past Take-Back Day events have collected more than 3 million pounds of prescription medications. The event offers free and anonymous disposal.

-- Associated Press

Goodyear narrows possible names for new airship

Akron -- Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has narrowed the list of possible names for the new airship that is the next generation of its famous blimp.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports people submitted more than 15,000 suggestions through a naming contest. The ten finalists include Ambassador, Explorer, Inspiration and Pride of Goodyear.

People can vote for their favorites on Goodyear's website for the next three weeks. Goodyear has said whoever submitted winning name will get access to the airship for a day.

The high-tech, helium-filled craft has a semi-rigid internal structure not included in earlier models that raises questions about whether it is truly a blimp, though the company still refers to it as such. Its silver balloon-like body is emblazoned with Goodyear's yellow logo on a blue background.

-- Associated Press

Faced with

eviction, smoker plans to move

Milford, Ohio -- An 89-year-old southwest Ohio woman is preparing to move out of her home of the last 10 years because it has gone smoke-free.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Beulah "Billie" Toombs faces eviction after being deemed non-compliant by her apartment building's management. A smoker for seven decades or so, she thinks she should be allowed to do what she wants in her own home.

But more than a year ago, the management of the apartments for low-income seniors announced a smoke-free policy. Residents already there were allowed one year of smoking with some conditions. When the smoke-free policy kicked in this year, neighbors reported Toombs' smoking, and a regular apartment inspection this month found cigarette butts and ashtrays in her unit.

So Toombs is looking for a new home.

-- Associated Press

Toledo mom

convicted in infant son's death

Toledo -- A Toledo woman has been convicted of killing her 6-month-old son, who died two days after his skull was broken.

Jurors on April 18 found 26-year-old Amanda Bacon guilty of murder and child endangering. She was cleared of an aggravated murder charge.

Bacon testified during the trial that her roommate was the one who injured the baby. She also said that her roommate had forced her to prostitute herself.

But her roommate testified that he saw Bacon throw her son Avery to the floor in December 2012.

Prosecutors say she bashed the baby's head, fracturing his skull so severely that he died two days later at the University of Michigan hospital.

-- Associated Press

Drug overdose deaths high in 2012, state reports

Columbus -- More Ohioans died from unintended drug overdoses in 2012 than in any single year during the previous decade, according to statistics released April 18 by state health officials.

While the total included fewer deaths linked to prescription painkillers, the number of heroin overdoses increased nearly 60 percent.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 1,272 Ohioans died from unintentional overdoses in 2012, up from 1,154 in 2011 and 979 in 2010. The numbers in recent years compare to 266 in 2001 and sub-500 counts prior to 2006.

Of the total, 697 were attributed to prescription opioids, down from 789 deaths in 2011 but up from 694 in 2010. State health officials spotlighted the decline, noting it was the first decrease in prescription painkiller overdoses since 2003.

But heroin overdoses are on the rise, with 680 deaths reported in 2012, up from 426 in 2011 and 338 in 2010. Just 81 Ohioans overdosed on heroin in 2001.

"We need to remember that as Ohio continues to work with its partners to combat illegal drugs like heroin, it's clear that the problems we once saw in prescription drugs are, in part, migrating to illegal drugs," Lance Himes, interim director of the Ohio Department of Health, said in a released statement.

Orman Hall, director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, added, "Ohio, like the rest of the nation, has seen a surge in the availability and use of heroin and, accordingly, the state is shifting its focus to provide pathways to treatment for those Ohioans struggling with addiction and to work even harder to prevent substance abuse before it starts."

-- Marc Kovac, Capital Bureau

-- Associated Press

Ohio teacher fired over alleged Obama comment

Cincinnati -- An Ohio teacher has been fired after allegedly telling a student who said he wanted to become president that the nation didn't need another black commander-in-chief.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the Fairfield Board of Education voted 4-0 to fire science teacher Gil Voigt on April 17.

Voigt has said that the student misquoted him. Voigt says what he actually told the teen was he doesn't think the nation can afford another president like Barack Obama, "whether he's black or white."

A state referee investigating Voigt found that explanation was "not credible."

The referee also cited other incidents over the years in which he says Voigt made other racial or insulting remarks.

Voigt had been on unpaid leave since December.

-- Associated Press

Taxi drivers refuse Gay Games placards

Cleveland -- Some taxi drivers who work at the Cleveland airport say they won't drive cabs with rooftop placards advertising the upcoming Gay Games.

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has released a statement saying two of the three taxi companies operating there were informed by several drivers that they will no longer participate in the airport's dedicated cab program.

The Plain Dealer reports that the drivers cited religious reasons.

The airport said plans are in the works to replace the drivers in the 75-cab Hopkins fleet.

Patrick Keenan, general manager of Americab, says the company is supportive of the games and doesn't share the views of the few drivers.

About 10,000 athletes are expected to participate in the Gay Games in Cleveland Aug. 9-16.

-- Associated Press