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Ohio ACLU demands portrait of Jesus be removed from another public school
Other morning headlines: Municipal income tax bill approved; Summit prosecutor asks for lesser sentence in mercy killing; Medicaid expansion rollout date set

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M.L. Schultze
  • Ohio ACLU demands portrait of Jesus be removed from another public school
  • Provision regulating Internet-cafes cut from bill
  • Ohio Municipal income tax bill approved over city protests
  • Prosecutor asks for lesser sentence in mercy killing
  • Medicaid expansion rollout date set
  • Execution delayed for man who wants to donate organs
  • Cleveland Browns, city meet about stadium upgrades
  • Ohio Lake Erie Commission to study toxic algae
  • Former Mahoning County official sentenced
  • Police-involved shooting lawsuit moving forward
  • "A Christmas Story" marks 30th anniversary
  • Soap Box Derby considers night racing
  • Ohio State releases details about Gee sensitivity training
  • Ohio ACLU demands portrait of Jesus be removed from another public school
    The ACLU is asking another Ohio school district to remove a portrait of Jesus from its high school or face a lawsuit. The East Muskingum Local school board has until tonight to decide, according to the Zanesville Recorder.

    The board is meeting at John Glenn High School, where a picture of Jesus in a field with lambs hangs. It was reportedly donated in honor of a former Latin teacher who died in the 1970s.

    Last year, the ACLU sued Jackson City School District for its refusal to remove a similar portrait. In October, the school board agreed to pay $95,000 in damages and permanently remove the portrait.

    Provision regulating Internet-cafes cut from bill
    A second bill that would have seriously clamped down on Ohio’s Internet-cafe industry has been derailed.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Senate bill would have placed additional restrictions on the operations, many of which closed after a House bill became law earlier this year. The new law severely limits sweepstakes machine payouts. But some Senate Republicans were concerned that it has loopholes. SB 141 would have prohibited the businesses from conducting sweepstakes greater than 5 percent of their gross annual revenue.

    But, despite objections from Attorney General Mike Dewine and Senate Republicans, the provision was cut.

    Senate President Keith Faber plans to send the bill back to committee to try and work it out.

    Ohio Municipal income tax bill approved
    The Ohio House has approved a bill to change how cities and villages can collect income taxes.

    The bill passed 56-39 yesterday and is headed to the Senate.

    It was opposed by Ohio’s cities and towns because of concern that it will cost them revenue. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the impact for some cities could be more than $2 million per year, and the cities say they’re already struggling with deep cuts in the state’s local government fund and the elimination of inheritance taxes.

    Supporters of the bill say it will make Ohio more competitive when it comes to attracting businesses and jobs, as well as making things easier for taxpayers.

    Prosecutor asks for lesser sentence in mercy killing
    The Summit County Prosecutor is asking today for a lesser sentence in the case of a 68-year-old Massillon man who shot his wife in her hospital bed. A jury convicted John Edward Wise of aggravated murder in the death of his wife of 45 years, who had suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in Akron.

    But prosecutors say they plan to ask the judge for a sentence for manslaughter and one firearm specification instead of on aggravated murder, his highest conviction. In a statement, Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said, while Wise committed an “illegal and very dangerous” act, “a shorter prison sentence is just.”

    He’s to be sentenced on Nov. 18. 

    Medicaid expansion rollout date set
    The governor’s office is telling the Columbus Dispatch the rollout of the state’s expanded Medicaid program is a month ahead of schedule, and application can begin Dec. 9.

    Some 275,000 additional adults now qualify for the public health insurance program. Ohio lawmakers had balked at the expansion, so Kasich went to the State Controlling Board.

    Kasich says the state online Medicaid enrollment system is being tested to avoid problems similar to those experienced by the Affordable Care Act.

    The system will allow people to apply online and verify their income through the IRS.

    Execution delayed for man who wants to donate organs
    Gov. John Kasich has delayed the execution of an Akron man until July to allow time to figure out if he can donate his organs.

    Forty year old Ronald Phillips was to die today for raping and murdering the 3-year-old daughter of his girlfriend. But he asked to donate his kidneys and heart to his mother and sister and other organs to other people. That’s never been done before, and the state prison’s department originally said ‘no.’

    Kasich rescheduled the execution yesterday to allow time to determine if the logistics for harvesting organs could be worked out. 

    Cleveland Browns, city meet about stadium upgrades
    The Cleveland Browns are meeting with city officials today to talk about help paying for $120 million upgrades at the FirstEnergy Stadium.

    The team wants to set up high-definition scoreboards, add audio equipment, and remove about 3,000 seats, while moving 2,000 others closer to the field.

    The city owns the stadium, which has been maintained by Cuyahoga County’s sin tax. But that expires in two years. The team would not discuss financing during a conference announcing the proposed changes yesterday. The team has gotten a loan of about $62 million from the NFL. 

    The Plain Dealer is reporting that Mayor Frank Jackson support the improvements, but says financing is still under discussion. Team President Joe Banner says the upgrades would happen in the off season.

    Ohio Lake Erie Commission to study toxic algae
    The U.S. EPA has awarded a half million dollars to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission to study the causes of toxic algae blooms and low oxygen levels in the lake. The study will track phosphorus, nitrogen and oxygen levels, and try to figure out the impact of things like extreme weather events. In July EPA announced it would award up to $9.5 million for competitive grants for such projects.

    Former Mahoning County official sentenced
    The former Mahoning County treasurer and Democratic Party chairwoman has been sentenced to five months in prison and two years of probation.

    Lisa Antonini was also sentenced to community service and fined $2,000 in federal court in Akron yesterday for failing to report $3,000 in cash she got from a Youngstown area businessman. She’s pleaded guilty to a single count of mail fraud. 

    Police-involved shooting lawsuit moving forward
    A northern Ohio mother can move forward with her $20 million lawsuit accusing police of shooting her son multiple times within seconds of entering the house unannounced as he appeared to be sleeping with a shotgun in his lap.

    The three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a lower court's decision to allow the lawsuit to proceed to a jury trial.

    The Jones family sued Sandusky County, its Board of Commissioners, sheriff and two deputies following the July 2010 shooting death of their 26-year-old son, Bryan Jones, in their Fremont home.

    "A Christmas Story" marks 30th anniversary
    "A Christmas Story” is turning 30, and the west-side Cleveland house where the movie was shot has welcomed more than 300,000 visitors since it opened as a museum in 2006.

    To mark the anniversary of the movie, the museum plans an expanded Thanksgiving weekend, convention cast appearances and a "Little Piggy" luncheon.

    Two area theaters are also planning big productions, according to the Plain Dealer.

    Soap Box Derby considers night racing
    The International Soap Box Derby is considering adding night racing next year.

    The Akron-based Derby will be try out portable light towers at the Derby Downs. Derby President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Mazur says there already has been a request for night racing next year.

    He says the move is part of an overall plan to increase the number of events at the track and offer different types of events .

    Ohio State releases details about Gee sensitivity training
    Ohio State has released details about the sensitivity training it had planned for its former president, Gordon Gee, after he made inappropriate jokes about Catholics, Notre Dame and other schools.

    The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the school considered several possibilities including two- and three-hour long training sessions, role playing, books and movies.

    The University’s board of trustees also instructed Gee to scale back his public speeches and hire a coach to help him.

    The school considered hiring several firms and specialists for the training, ranging in price from $4,500 to $17,500.

    Gee retired on July 1st, before that training could take place.

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