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Morning news headlines for Wednesday, April 3rd
Strongsville teachers, board ordered back to table; Jesus portrait coming down in Jackson; Akron to study how much university housing is necessary
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Strongsville teachers, board ordered back to table
  • Jesus portrait coming down in Jackson
  • Akron to study how much university housing is necessary
  • Cleveland State University faculty set for 'no confidence' vote 
  • Former RTA bus driver convicted in passenger assault 
  • Portage County tea party member to try for state leadership post 
  • Lordtown Chevy Cruze rebounds 
  • Playhouse Square unveils $16 million in glitzy upgrades 
  • New state-funded addiction center opens  
  • Columbus man accused of Twitter threats against Obama released 
  • Strongsville teachers, board ordered back to table
    A federal mediator has called striking Strongsville teachers and the district back to the negotiating table today. The move follows a turn of events Tuesday, in which the school board immediately turned down an attempt by the teachers to end their strike, which is in its fifth week. The teachers proposed a process known as binding arbitration, which would put the major issues in contract talks in a third-party’s hands. Unlike a mediator, an arbitrator would choose from one side or the other on each issue, rather than trying for common ground. The board says that isn’t in its best interests.

    Jesus portrait coming down in Jackson
    A southern Ohio school district has agreed to take down a painting of Jesus amid a legal challenge claiming that it's an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity. Jackson City Schools says the decision to remove the portrait from a school hallway came because the district could end up paying significant legal fees and costs if it lost the lawsuit brought by two parents and a student. That lawsuit was backed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. School officials say the portrait, which has hung in school hallways since 1947, is owned by a Christian-based student club and represents private speech.

    Akron to study how much university housing is necessary
    The city of Akron says it wants to know for sure whether University of Akron students really need as much housing as they’re getting. The Beacon Journal reports the city is launching a study, and will not hand out any tax incentives or rezone any properties for new student housing for at least the next four months while that analysis is done. City council has approved three recent housing projects and the university said last week it’s converting the remaining public hotel rooms at the Quaker Square Inn to student housing this summer. The moratorium won’t affect projects currently underway. The Beacon Journal says it’s unclear how the housing study will be conducted.

    Cleveland State University faculty set for 'no confidence' vote
    Cleveland State University faculty leaders are poised to take a no confidence vote in the administration today. The Plain Dealer reports the faculty senate says administrators ignored its opposition to recent curriculum changes. Trustees in January approved reducing the number of credit hours required for graduation and reducing course credit hours from four to three, which is standard at other four-year institutions in Ohio. The measures go into effect in September of 2014. Faculty agreed to the three-credit-hour conversion for the university's general education courses but argue that approach wouldn't work for all of the university's degree programs and says the issue is being rush with little input from faculty. Cleveland State President Ronald Berkman tells the Plain Dealer the move has been under consideration for two years.

    Former RTA bus driver convicted in passenger assault
    A former Cleveland public transit driver has been convicted of assault for punching an irate passenger. Atris Hughes faces six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for throwing the upper cut last September that was captured on cell-phone videos and went viral. The images also captured the passenger, Shi Dea Lane, shouting and apparently spitting at Hughes after he ordered to pay her bus fare. Lane is facing disorderly conduct charges. After the incident, RTA suspended and eventually fired Hughes. This assault, and several attacks on other drivers, has led RTA to install surveillance cameras on more buses and to test protective barriers for drivers.  

    Portage County Tea Party member to try for state leadership post
    A leading figure in a conservative backlash against the Ohio Republican Party says he's running for chairman. Tom Zawistowski, a businessman and tea party leader from Portage County, announced the bid Tuesday to succeed Chairman Bob Bennett. Zawistowski was among 80 self-identified conservatives who wrote to state party leaders last month objecting to a series of their recent actions. Those included U.S. Sen. Rob Portman's policy shift in favor of same-sex marriage and Gov. John Kasich's support for Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law. Executive Director Matt Borges is Bennett's favored successor, with support from all Ohio's top Republican officials.

    Lordtown Chevy Cruze rebounds
    The Lordstown-built Chevy Cruze is on the rebound. GM said Tuesday the compact’s sales were up nearly 8 percent in March to more than 23,000 sold. And the company says more of those vehicles were to regular customers, as opposed to rental-car fleets as has been the pattern since its launch in 2010. Sales had been down the previous two months. Despite the rebound, the Cruze finished fifth in compact cars last month behind Toyota's Corolla, Honda's Civic, Ford's Focus and Hyundai's Elantra.

    Playhouse Square unveils $16 million in glitzy upgrades
    Cleveland’s Playhouse Square Foundation plans spend $16 million over the next year on upgrades. The Plain Dealer reports the plans for the theater district include new signs, arches and digital displays, including a 24-foot tall glass crystal chandelier that will hang over the intersection of Euclid and East 14th Street and a large “Playhouse Square” sign that will rise above the buildings in the area.

    New state-funded addiction center opens
    A state-funded addiction treatment center has opened in southern Ohio as part of ongoing efforts to battle the region's prescription painkiller and heroin epidemic. The Health Recovery Services Southern Ohio Treatment Center in Jackson will offer patients counseling and medication aimed at controlling addictions. Funding for the center that opened Tuesday includes $500,000 from the Governor's Office of Appalachia and $200,000 in federal substance abuse dollars provided by the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. The center will also be funded through private insurance, Medicaid and payments from patients.

    Columbus man accused of Twitter threats against Obama released
    A Columbus man accused of threatening President Barack Obama on Twitter has been released from custody pending further court hearings. A complaint filed by the U.S. Secret Service in federal court in Columbus says the threatening tweets were made last month and included threats to kill the president. The complaint says that when interviewed by a Secret Service agent late last month, Daniel Temple admitted to posting the threatening messages.

    Listener Comments:


    The Jesus portrait is not 'private speech'

    when displayed in a public school's hallway!

    In a student's locker? No problem!


    Posted by: ed-words (Florida) on April 3, 2013 6:04AM
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