Flags fly half-staff for Ohio 'trailblazer' Kearns


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Flags are being flown at half-staff over Ohio's Statehouse in honor of a veteran public servant who worked to pass laws aiding the mentally ill and legitimizing the profession of advanced practice nursing.

Republican Merle Grace Kearns died Saturday. She was 76.

Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) ordered flags flown at half-staff at the Statehouse and at public buildings across Clark County on Friday, when private funeral services are planned.

Kearns spent 27 years in public life, serving as a Clark County commissioner, state representative and senator and director of the Ohio Department of Aging.

House Speaker William Batchelder called Kearns "a steadfast trailblazer." Senate President Keith Faber (FAY'-bur) said Kearns worked to help some of society's most vulnerable.

Kearns was inducted in the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in 2010.