Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Court rules prison shutdown is valid

Tristate briefs

Staff/Wire reports

COLUMBUS - The state is resuming work on shutting down an Ohio prison and moving out the inmates after an appeals court ruled on Monday that Gov. Bob Taft has the authority to close it.

The 3rd Ohio District Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that delayed since last summer the closing of the Lima Correctional Institution.

Some prisoners are likely to be transferred this week, and all of them could be moved by the end of March.

Taft intended to close the prison in northwest Ohio on July 12 to save $25 million a year.

Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Warren in August halted the shutdown, saying the governor lacked authority to close the prison.

Warren ruled that the Ohio Legislature never relinquished control of the prison it created in 1982.

The prison, which had about 1,500 inmates when the closing was announced a year ago, now has 436 prisoners and 409 employees.

Ohio's prison population has dropped from 45,600 inmates at the end of 2002 to 43,861.

Veteran employees will be able to transfer to other prisons and "bump" other workers out of a job, said Andrea Dean, spokesman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Ind. Guardsmen returning from Iraq

INDIANAPOLIS - Several hundred members of an Indiana National Guard unit that was activated for the war in Iraq more than a year ago will be returning home over the coming week, military officials said Monday.

About 220 soldiers from the 152nd Infantry are to arrive Thursday at Indianapolis International Airport.

The next groups from the unit returning - about 250 members of the 152nd's Alpha and Charlie companies - are scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Community college change recommended

LEXINGTON - A University of Kentucky committee unanimously recommended on Monday that oversight of Lexington Community College be turned over to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

The UK Board of Trustees will consider the recommendation from the academic affairs committee at a special meeting today.

In June, the community college was placed on probation for a year by its accreditation organization because of questions about its autonomy and close relationship with UK.

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