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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has headed to Cairo to serve as an international observer in Egypt's constitutional referendum.
The Columbus Democrat will be present for the Jan. 14-15 vote on an amended charter as part of a team from Democracy International. The organization is active in more than 60 countries on democracy and governance issues and to assist on rule-of-law questions.
Brunner is a former judge and founding partner and principal in the Brunner Quinn law firm based in Columbus. She oversaw Ohio elections as secretary of state from 2007 to 2011.
This is not her first foray into international election issues. Since re-entering private practice, she has made multiple trips to Serbia to provide technical assistance on judicial reform and anti-corruption in elections.
CINCINNATI (AP) - A southwest Ohio Democrat plans a campaign swing around the state before deciding whether to go forward with his run for governor.
Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune announced Dec. 30 he would run. He said he had been hearing from rank-and-file Democrats about their desire for a choice after Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has been running for months. But Portune said he wouldn't file by the Feb. 5 deadline if he determined there wasn't enough statewide support.
Portune tells The Cincinnati Enquirer he is making what he calls an "aggressive swing" to assess whether he can mount a successful challenge. He plans stops over the next week in cities including Athens, Lima and Lorain.
Gov. John Kasich has no GOP challenger at this point.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A company president apologized to West Virginia residents for a chemical leak into a public water treatment plant hours before a state agency ordered Freedom Industries to remove chemicals from its remaining above-ground tanks.
About 300,000 people entered their third day Saturday with no way to take showers and wash clothes. Officials remain unclear when it might be safe again.
Federal authorities began investigating how the foaming agent escaped the Freedom Industries plant and seeped into the Elk River. Just how much of the chemical leaked into the river was not yet known.
Freedom Industries President Gary Southern on Friday called the incident "extremely unfortunate." Hours later, a state agency ordered the company to remove its remaining chemicals off the site.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's public safety department is expanding its online registry of repeat drunken-drivers. The registry includes drivers who have five or more DUI convictions in the past two decades.
The change comes after reports that the registry contained information from courts in only about half of Ohio's counties. The list contains 5,300 names compared with about 400 before the update. A spokeswoman for the State Highway Patrol says the new list is a more up-to-date and complete.
The public safety department is no longer relying on local courts to supply the information and instead is compiling the list from electronic records.
CINCINNATI (AP) - A casino employee in Cincinnati and two others have been indicted on charges accusing them in a cheating scheme. The indictment say the employee misused a rewards program at Cincinnati's Horseshoe Casino that allowed the two others to essentially gamble for free.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the employee used fake names to create 18 rewards program cards for her boyfriend and another man. The cards don't have any cash value, but the casino can give gamblers rewards in the program that can be used when they gamble.
The newspaper says a casino internal audit uncovered the scheme.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Military veterans who served during the Persian Gulf War era have until Tuesday to claim Ohio bonuses of up to $1,500.
Ohio voters in 2009 approved a $200 million bond issue to fund bonuses for veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq war eras. Iraq War veterans have another year, until Dec. 31, 2014, to apply. No deadline has been announced for Afghanistan War and all veterans who served after Oct. 7, 2001.
Eligible next of kin of those who were killed in action or died of disease as a result of in-theater service also can apply for the Ohio Veterans Bonus.
As of earlier this month, roughly $60 million had been paid to nearly 72,000 veterans and family members covering all three war eras.