December 26, 2013
COLUMBUS — A list of the top 10 stories of 2013 from the Ohio Associated Press, as voted on by member newspapers and broadcasters around the state:
1. Three women missing for a decade are freed from a Cleveland house where they had been held captive. Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus escaped from the house May 6 when Berry pushed out a door and called for help. Their captor, Ariel Castro, was arrested, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. A month into his sentence, he hanged himself in his cell. The three women have announced they are working on book projects.
2. Two Steubenville football players are convicted in March of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in a case marked by allegations of a small-town cover-up and demands that more players be charged. One of the players was sentenced to two years in the state juvenile prison system, and the other was sentenced to a year. Months later, a grand jury called by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine indicted the school superintendent and others on charges they failed to report information they knew about the crime.
3. Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law is passed through an obscure legislative panel after Gov. John Kasich’s fellow Republicans in the state Legislature declined to act. Kasich’s administration brought the funding request to the powerful Controlling Board in mid-October, bypassing the full General Assembly. The seven-member Controlling Board, which handles certain adjustments to the state budget, approved the expansion money on a 5-2 vote. Two anti-abortion groups and six Republican state representatives sued to have the funding approval overturned.
4. Ohio State President Gordon Gee retires after remarks jabbing Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools. In the recorded comments to the university Athletic Council in December 2012, Gee criticized the negotiating tactics of Notre Dame administrators during discussions about joining the Big Ten, saying they weren’t good partners. He jokingly said the school’s priests were “holy on Sunday and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week” and said, to laughter, “you just can’t trust those damn Catholics.”
5. Kasich unveils a school funding overhaul intended to help students in poor districts compete by narrowing tax-base discrepancies while rewarding innovation and expanding access to vouchers. Proponents say the changes will better prepare students and make schools operate more efficiently and hold educators more accountable. There are new early elementary reading mandates, curriculum standards, teacher evaluations and changes in the way schools will be rated.
Filling out the top 10 Ohio stories, in descending order, are:
— The Cincinnati IRS office comes under tea party fire for targeting conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election.
— An Amish leader found guilty in hair-cutting attacks on fellow Amish is sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
— A self-styled preacher is convicted in Akron of killing three down-and-out men lured by bogus job offers posted on Craigslist.
— A teenager pleads guilty in March to killing three students at Chardon High School and is sentenced to life in prison.
— A 22-year-old man confesses in an online video to killing a man in a DUI crash in central Ohio. He is sentenced in October to 6 1/2 years in prison.