State briefs

524k Ohio absentee ballots requested

COLUMBUS (AP) — State officials say more than 524,000 absentee ballots have been requested in Ohio this year — an increase of 40,000 compared to the same period during the 2012 presidential election.

Secretary of State Jon Husted says nearly 12,000 of the absentee ballot applications are from military and overseas voters. The rest are from in-state residents.

Absentee ballot applications must be submitted by Nov. 5, the weekend before the Nov. 8 general election. Husted says voters should submit them as soon as possible.

Requests can be made online through

Completed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 7 and arrive at the county boards of elections offices within 10 days after the election.

The state says a record 1.87 million absentee ballots were cast in 2012.

Court OKs attorneys to advise on pot law

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Supreme Court has adopted a rule change to let attorneys counsel clients seeking to comply with the state’s new medical marijuana law.

The high court says the amendment adopted Tuesday allows attorneys to help clients navigate the law, what it permits and how it’s implemented. It also says lawyers in such circumstances should advise clients regarding related federal law.

The change comes after the court’s professional conduct board said attorneys can’t ethically provide services to people setting up medical marijuana-related businesses because of federal prohibitions on the drug. Using, growing and selling marijuana remains a federal crime.

Ohio’s medical marijuana law took effect Sept. 8 but won’t be fully operational for two years.

Veterans get Congressional Gold Medal

LORAIN — Several Army veterans in Ohio who were part of the former U. S. Army regiment known as the Borinqueneers (bohr-ehn-kin-EERS’) have been honored with replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the regiment.

The four veterans honored in Lorain were in the unit that was formed as Puerto Rican volunteers in 1898 and re-designated as the 65th Infantry Regiment in 1920. It fought in World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

Lorain veterans Julio Santiago-Montanez, Miguel Berlingeri and Carlos Montes received their replicas of the medal at a ceremony Monday. The fourth veteran honored, Francisco Colon, of Fairview Park, was unable to attend.

Congress passed legislation to award the honor to the regiment in April. The actual gold medal is held by the Smithsonian.

Ag chief touts investments

WILMINGTON — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is highlighting the department’s investments in rural infrastructure projects with a visit to an Ohio college.

Vilsack is visiting Wilmington College in southwest Ohio on Thursday and was expected to tour the college’s newly renovated and expanded Center for the Sciences and Agriculture. That renovation was funded by a $19.7 million loan from the Agriculture Department’s Community Facilities Direct Loan Program.

The center is intended to help attract more young people to farming and agricultural research and stimulate economic development in the community.

The federal department has invested $6.9 billion in loans and grants over the past eight years across more than 8,000 education and health care facilities to help improve resources in rural communities.

Professor wins ‘genius’ grant

OXFORD — A linguist at a southwest Ohio college has been named a MacArthur Fellow and will receive the so-called “genius grant” to continue his work to restore use of an indigenous language.

Miami University Professor Daryl Baldwin is among the 2016 recipients of the fellowship awarded to individuals every year by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The 23 latest recipients were named Thursday.

The fellowship comes with a $625,000 stipend.

Baldwin, 53, is working to restore the language of his people— the Miami “Myaamia” Nation of Oklahoma —through his education and research as the director of the Myaamia Center at Miami. He came to Miami in 2001 to run the center, which is a joint venture between the tribe and the Oxford school.

The language and cultural revitalization is necessary for preserving the tribe’s identity, Baldwin said.

“Every group wants to thrive and survive,” he said. “The connections that Myaamia people have through their shared history, kinship pride and culture is what really helped us move forward as a tribal community.”

Baldwin received the “surreal” phone call telling him he won the MacArthur fellowship while walking on campus, WHIO-TV reported. According to the foundation, fellows are “exceptionally creative individuals with the potential for important work.”

Baldwin said it’s too soon to say how he’ll use the award but said it will provide opportunities for new areas of development at the center.

“This is a 20-year effort involving the tribe and university and several full-time staff. I have some consulting to do to generate options before I make a determination,” he said.