State briefs

Revenues fall at 3 Ohio casinos in 2016

COLUMBUS (AP) — Three of the Ohio’s four casinos took a hit in revenues in 2016.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission says gambling revenues were down 2 percent in total last year.

Casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati saw a 4 percent drop while the Toledo casino was down 2 percent. Columbus saw the only gain, a 2 percent increase.

The newer racinos around are the state are doing better.

All seven Ohio racinos combined to bring in nearly $74 million in revenues in December. That’s up by more than $1 million over the same month last year.

Gaming industry analyst Alan Silver says racinos that are closer to Ohio’s suburban areas and offer free parking are pulling customers away from the casinos.

College pledges $350K for Amtrak train stop

OXFORD — An Ohio college has pledged $350,000 for an Amtrak train stop to give students, parents and alumni another transportation option.

Miami University says it has formalized its commitment in writing to match the city of Oxford’s $350,000 to pay for the stop, which would include a platform, shelter and access sidewalks.

Amtrak officials have expressed interest in establishing an Oxford stop if it makes economic sense. The city and school have been discussing the issue for several years.

Amtrak’s New York-to-Chicago Cardinal Line passes through Oxford in the early morning hours.

Oxford is some 40 miles northwest of Cincinnati.

Authorities hope reconstruction will identify woman

MARION — Authorities in Ohio have unveiled a facial reconstruction they hope will help identify a woman whose skeletal remains were found in 2007 and possibly determine if there could be a link to a suspect in several women’s deaths.

Authorities released the facial reconstruction Wednesday. The remains were found in Marion.

Police arrested Shawn Grate last September after finding two bodies in an Ashland home where another woman said she’d been held captive. Grate was indicted on charges including murder in that case.

Grate told investigators he stabbed a woman who was selling magazines door to door and dumped her body in Marion around 2005. He hasn’t been charged in connection with the Marion death.

Grate has been found competent to stand trial in connection with two deaths. He’s expected to undergo evaluations as his attorneys pursue an insanity defense.

$5M bonds for parents of girl found dead

MASSILLON — The parents of a 5-year-old girl reported missing in Ohio were jailed Wednesday on bonds of $5 million after her body was found hidden in the family’s restaurant.

Jackson Township police say Ashley Zhao was found dead Tuesday at Ang’s Asian Cuisine in North Canton after a daylong search. They didn’t release details about how the child was concealed.

Her parents initially reported that Zhao went missing after taking a nap at the back of the restaurant on Monday evening, but police now allege her mother struck Ashley in the face several times with her fist on Monday morning and the girl later died.

Her mother, 29-year-old Mingming Chen, is charged with murder and felonious assault. Her father, 34-year-old Liang Zhao, is charged with complicity to murder and complicity to commit felonious assault.

Court records didn’t immediately list attorneys for them after their initial appearances Wednesday in Massillon Municipal Court.

Information provided by the Stark County Sheriff’s Office indicate that Ashley’s father washed away green fluid coming from her mouth after the beating and unsuccessfully tried to revive her when she stopped breathing.

Police officers and investigators from the state crime laboratory were seen at what is believed to be the family’s apartment, The (Canton) Repository reported.

Vickie Fothergill, who manages a store next to the restaurant, told the newspaper she had seen Ashley and an older sister at the restaurant many times.

College asks judge to dismiss lawsuit alleging hazing

DAYTON — University of Dayton attorneys have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the school by a former football player who alleges hazing left him with a cognitive brain injury.

The lawsuit was filed last month in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court by Max Engelhart. The former UD player says he was forced to drink to excess by upperclassmen on the team and endure verbal abuse and other humiliation tactics as part of an initiation two years ago.

A Dayton newspaper reports the motion to dismiss denies hazing took place. The attorneys wrote that Engelhart’s accusations are vague and speculative. They said if any of the alleged activities occurred, they weren’t orchestrated or perpetrated by coaches or staff.

Engelhart’s attorney, Scott Jones, didn’t comment on the motion.