Boyfriend of slain New Franklin couple’s daughter charged with murders
An 18-year-old Akron man has been charged in the deaths of a prominent attorney and his wife, who were beaten with a sledgehammer at their New Franklin home. Police say Shawn Ford Jr. of Akron was dating the couple's teenage daughter. 56-year old Jeffrey Schobert was a well-known area attorney, and his wife, 59-year old Margaret “Peg” Schobert was an active volunteer for various Summit County groups. Their bodies were found in their bedroom this week by construction workers. Their daughter remains hospitalized following an attack from another man who is not a suspect.
Plain Dealer cutting back to three-day delivery
The Plain Dealer is cutting back home delivery to three days a week. Publisher Terry Egger announced Thursday that The Plain Dealer will be delivered on Sunday and two other still unspecified days of the week beginning in late summer. The newspaper, Ohio's largest daily, will still be printed every day and be available for purchase. The Plain Dealer Publishing Company said in a news release that a new digitally focused media company called Northeast Ohio Media Group will be started this summer. The newspaper is owned by New York-based Advance Publications Inc.
Strongsville teachers, board heading into third day of marathon talks
Strongsville teachers and the school board will be back to negotiations today after another marathon session Thursday produced no results. The two sides met with the federal mediator for 8 hours yesterday. They’ll reconvene at 1:00 p.m. today. The teachers’ strike is wrapping up its fifth week. The two sides also met for 14 straight hours earlier this week.
Part of Bedford Reservation goes up in flames
About 40 acres in the Bedford Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks burned Thursday night. It took firefighters several hours to extinguish the fire. The field borders a residential neighborhood, but no homes were damaged. So far no cause has been determined and an investigation continues today.
Carbon monoxide poisoning sends 25 to hospital from Stow bowling alley
Twenty-five people were taken to the hospital with carbon monoxide poising after participants in a senior citizens' bowling league became ill in Stow. Authorities say a woman passed out and others complained of headaches and nausea Thursday at Sto-Kent Family Entertainment. Fire officials say the amount of carbon monoxide in the air at the facility was 10 times greater than the acceptable level. The bowling alley is closed while officials investigate what caused the leak.
Akron Digital Academy will not close
The board that runs Akron’s Digital Academy has reversed a recent decision to close the school. The online charter school that has about 600 students was set to close in June at the recommendation of board member and Akron Public School district superintendent David James, who said the school has had years of poor academic performance. But the Beacon Journal reports that on Thursday, James changed his mind after about 100 angry parents showed up in protest. Most of the board members who originally voted with James to close the school were not present during yesterday’s vote.
Florida man pleads guilty to illegal house flipping
A Florida man has pleaded guilty to charges that he illegally flipped hundreds of Cuyahoga County homes. As part of a plea deal, 44-year-old Blaine Murphy will pay $1 million in restitution. That's about the same amount of taxes owed on the properties, many of which fell into foreclosure. Murphy's five-year scheme ended in 2010 after he had flipped 235 houses. He would acquire often-dilapidated homes, file deeds without bringing the properties up to code or paying taxes, and then sell the houses in bulk lots. His sentencing is scheduled for May 8th. Authorities say the scheme directly contributed to the housing blight in greater Cleveland
ACLU says small courts throwing poor people in jail when they can’t pay fines
The American Civil Liberties Union says several small courts in Ohio are illegally and unconstitutionally jailing people because they're too poor to pay court-imposed debts. The ACLU's Ohio chapter says an investigation found defendants are also being denied their right to a hearing to determine whether they're financially able to pay their fines. The report says municipal courts in Cuyahoga, Huron and Erie counties are among the worst offenders. The ACLU says some offenders are put behind bars for debts as small as a few hundred dollars.
College savings accounts for Cuyahoga kindergartners expected to be approved
A proposal in Cuyahoga County to start off every kindergartner with a $100 college savings account is expected to be approved by county leaders. The idea was floated in November by county executive Ed FitzGerald. The Plain Dealer reports that it is expected to be approved by the county council this month after a committee spent several months reviewing and revising the plan. The effort — which would kick off this fall with about 15,000 children — would fulfill the county charter's mandate that county leaders establish a postsecondary scholarship program. FitzGerald said he wanted to create an incentive program for all county children instead of a traditional scholarship.
U of Toledo ends agreement with abortion provider
The University of Toledo Medical Center has canceled an agreement with an area abortion provider after a state lawmaker and anti-abortion group claimed it was illegal. University president Lloyd Jacobs notified the Capital Care Network in west Toledo that it will not renew the one-year transfer agreement when it expires on July 31. State law requires places like abortion clinics, to have an agreement to transfer patients to a hospital if there are complications. Ohio Right to Life and Republican state Rep. Lynn Wachtmann objected to the contract as a violation of the ban on state-funded entities supporting abortion.
Highway Patrol graduates 63 new troopers
The State Highway Patrol is adding 63 new Ohio troopers to its ranks. Today’s graduation of the patrol's academy class is expected to leave the organization with about 1,600 sworn officers in the state, a level the patrol hasn't seen in six years. The patrol says it ended up short-staffed because it didn't graduate any cadets in 2008 or 2010 and was losing about 60 people annually, mostly through attrition.