Associated Press

A Democratic judge in Cleveland has conceded to his Republican opponent in what was an extremely tight Ohio Supreme Court race, meaning the court will continue to have six Republicans and one Democrat.

The race between Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O'Donnell and state appeals Judge Pat Fischer was too close to call on election night because there were more than 260,000 uncounted provisional or outstanding absentee ballots.

Those votes were counted by Wednesday, and O'Donnell conceded that Fischer won by more than the narrow margin that would trigger an automatic recount.

starttalking.ohio.gov

Ohio plans to take advantage of the busy holiday travel season to warn drivers about the growing problem of drugged driving.

It's a joint effort of the State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The agencies will use the state's 130 freeway message signs, as well as additional portable highway signs, to display driver alerts on the rising number of drugged-driving crashes.

The signs also will advertise Republican Gov. John Kasich's Start Talking initiative, which encourages family conversations about the dangers of drug use.

Columbus Zoo

Another set of twin polar bears has been born at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, shortly after one of the twins born last week to another bear died.

The central Ohio zoo says the latest cubs were born Monday to a bear named Aurora, about a week after her sister, Anana, gave birth.

Staff monitoring Anana's cubs through a camera in the private den noted Sunday that one of Anana's cubs had stopped moving. The cub died hours before the newest cubs were born. Zoo officials say they likely will never know why the cub died.

A new state report shows an uptick in Ohio's infant mortality rate, with black babies dying at a rate approaching three times that of whites.

Data released Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Health shows the state's overall infant mortality rate increased to 7.2 deaths per 1,000 births last year. That's up from a rate of 6.8 deaths in 2014. The three leading causes continued to be prematurity, sleep-related deaths and birth defects.

Ohio had 1,005 infants die before their first birthdays in 2015, compared with 955 in 2014.

Arise Academy in Dayton is now closed, and former leaders of the school have been convicted of federal crimes.
User: Paradox 56 / Flickr/Creative Commons

Public school superintendents from around Ohio are raising concerns that a large number of high schoolers are in jeopardy of not graduating as expected next school year because of new requirements tied to more demanding tests.

 

Some of those administrators and other supporters rallied Tuesday outside the Statehouse as the state school board discusses potential changes to address the issue. Several superintendents addressing the crowd urged supporters to keep the conversation going with lawmakers and board members to bring about change.

Minority Democrats in the state Legislature say removing the freeze on Ohio's renewable energy mandates is among their priorities as this year's session winds down.

The standards took effect in 2008 and say electricity utilities must meet annual benchmarks for renewable energy and for finding ways to help customers reduce energy use.

Time is running out on a measure Republican Gov. John Kasich signed placing a two-year freeze on the standards.

The Ohio Republican selected by president-elect Donald Trump to lead his domestic transition is an outspoken conservative with a history as a party maverick.

Ken Blackwell prevailed in an intra-party feud in 2006 to become Ohio's first black nominee for governor. He also took on fellow Republicans in the state Legislature while serving in statewide office.

StatehouseNews

Incumbent Republican Senator Rob Portman has defeated former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.

Portman was first elected to the Senate in 2010. He ran a strong campaign tying his opponent to Ohio's sinking economy during Strickland's governorship, which coincided with the national recession.

Portman kept Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a distance leading up to today's election. Portman didn't campaign with Trump and withdrew his endorsement when a 2005 tape of Trump making lewd comments about kissing and groping women surfaced last month.

Potential jurors are due in court for the murder trial of a white former university police officer charged with killing an unarmed black man during a traffic stop in Ohio.

Twenty-six-year-old Ray Tensing has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of 43-year-old Sam DuBose near the University of Cincinnati last year.

Flickr Creative Commons User Penelope Perkins

Vice President Joe Biden is returning to Ohio to campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The Clinton campaign says Biden is scheduled to attend events Monday at a convention center in Cleveland, a public library in Toledo and Sinclair Community College in Dayton.

The vice president's visit comes on the heels of Clinton's stop in the state on Friday and a Saturday rally by her Republican opponents, Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

Pence is back Tuesday with three events scheduled.

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