Governor seeks applicants for Supreme Court seat

COLUMBUS (AP) — Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) is accepting applications from people interested in consideration for an open Ohio Supreme Court seat.

Kasich is taking the names of applicants through Dec. 29. The Republican governor is filling a seat to be left vacant on Jan. 26 by retiring Justice William O’Neill.

O’Neill, a Democrat, is running for Ohio governor. Some Republican lawmakers are trying to oust O’Neill early, saying he should have stepped down weeks ago.

O’Neill says he isn’t officially a candidate until he files early in February.

Kasich says he and his staff will evaluate applicants with help from a screening committee of legal professionals after the new year.

Company breaks ground for marijuana site

YELLOW SPRINGS (AP) — One of the 12 large growers Ohio has picked to participate in its medical marijuana program has held a ceremonial groundbreaking.

The CEO of Chicago-based Cresco Labs and Yellow Springs officials took part in the ceremony Thursday at the site of the planned cultivation facility.

Cresco says it plans a 50,000-square-foot greenhouse to grow medical marijuana in western Ohio.

Ohio’s Department of Commerce on Nov. 30 rounded out the list of 24 companies authorized to produce medicinal crops under a new system expected to go live by September.

Ohio is the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana.

Ohio’s medical marijuana law passed last year. It allows people with medical conditions such as cancer and epilepsy to buy and use marijuana if a doctor recommends it.

Police: Officer struck by drunken driver during DUI patrol

BLUE ASH (AP) — Police in southwest Ohio say an officer on patrol for drunken drivers was slightly injured when his vehicle was rear-ended by an inebriated motorist.

WLWT-TV reports the officer in the Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash was struck early Thursday by a 34-year-old Cincinnati man whose blood-alcohol level tested nearly twice Ohio’s legal limit. The man was arrested and cited before being released.

Blue Ash police say 15-year veteran officer William Fritts was sitting in his department-issued SUV on Ronald Reagan Highway watching for drunken drivers around 3 a.m. when his vehicle was hit from behind. Police Chief Paul Hartinger says Fritts was buckled in yet still received back and neck injuries after his SUV was pushed 30 feet.

The state Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.

2 killed, 3 hurt in multi-car crash

COLUMBUS (AP) — Authorities say two people were killed and three others seriously hurt in a multi-vehicle crash outside Columbus.

The State Highway Patrol says 55-year-old Robert Fish and front-seat passenger 54-year-old Lisa Hiles, both of Columbus, were killed in the crash Thursday on U.S. Route 23 in Delaware County.

The patrol says Fish was driving north when his car crossed the centerline and struck a car headed in the opposite direction, triggering collisions with a semitrailer and another car.

A Columbus man driving the car that Fish struck and his two backseat passengers were taken to a Columbus hospital with serious injuries.

Fish died at the scene. Hiles died at a hospital. The patrol says neither she nor Fish were using seat belts.

The accident remains under investigation.