Prison employees get away with sexual assault

Barbara tried to push James Johnson away, “but he would just act like she was playing with him,” according to Sergeant Brandee Thomas' report from July 2011. Barbara said Johnson bruised her legs when he had sexual intercourse with her and gave her 10 tablets of hydrocodone, promising at least 10 more and an ice cream cake for her birthday two days later. read more

Natural gas well owners underpay tax by 43 percent

Natural gas well owners shorted the Ohio tax department millions of dollars in 2014, but the state lacks the authority to claim it. Well owners are required to report how much of the fuel they “sever” from the Earth and file two separate reports each quarter. One goes to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The other is a severance tax return that goes to the Ohio Department of Taxation. read more

YSU graduates fewer than 10 percent of black students

Fewer than 10 percent of black students at Youngstown State University graduate within six years; the rates have been low for years, and the university administration's diversity committee hasn't met in months. The total six-year graduation rates for all minorities were 12.6, 13.2 and 14.99 percent for 2006, 2007 and 2008 cohorts. In comparison, six-year graduation rates for white students were 36.9, 38.5 and 38.36 percent for the same cohorts. read more

Ohio landowner misses out on Utica shale bonanza

In Ohio’s Harrison County about 40 miles southeast of Canton, the picturesque landscape is that of post cards. Unpaved roads roll over slopes and through woods of the Appalachian foothills where farmland gives way to hunting clubs and state forests. read more

Few penalties exist for assisted living facilities

The alarms were quiet the morning of April 9 when an 84-year-old resident of Grace Woods Senior Living in Niles walked out of the building and died. The state Department of Health found the facility was understaffed and unsecured, but it couldn’t levy fines or criminally charge the limited liability company. Grace Woods remains open. read more

Tax on gas wells goes unchecked by state authorities

As Ohio prepares to usher in a multibillion-dollar gas drilling industry, it is relying on an honor system with well owners for the purpose of collecting taxes and fees, and the numbers don’t add up. read more

Mom's, child's squalid life detailed in enslavement case

Witnesses taking the stand yesterday in the trial of a northeastern Ohio couple accused of holding a mentally handicapped woman and her daughter hostage for two years described squalid living conditions where the two were forced to live in a locked basement room with pit bulls, pythons and piles of feces. read more

A Texas county is outgrowing its water supply

The population of Montgomery County is growing too fast for the groundwater to sustain it, and human consumption isn’t even the biggest drain on the county’s water resources; it’s lawn irrigation. read more

Steve's world: fallout from an invisible war

The squared borders of Wick Park provide a defined routine and world for Steve Hiet. With winter’s end in sight, he’ll again become a regular face in the park. As unofficial groundskeeper, he gains a measure of fulfillment by keeping Wick Park safe and by picking up trash. read more