FitzGerald running mate announcement could come today
Democratic candidate for governor and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald says he has picked a new running mate and could make the announcement as early as today, according to the Plain Dealer. FitzGerald has to name a running mate by the February 5th filing deadline. His first pick, State Senator Eric Kearney of Cincinnati was removed from the ticket just weeks after he was selected, after it was revealed he and his former printing company have hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes. On Thursday, Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson officially endorsed FitzGerald.
First execution with new drugs shows problems
Ohio’s first execution with an untested combination of drugs did not go smoothly Thursday. Reporters witnessing the execution in Lucasville say Dennis McGuire’s death appeared to take 13 to 15 minutes, and he seemed to be gasping. Ohio is the first state in the nation to use a combination of a sedative and painkiller to execute someone. It turned to those drugs after the Danish maker of pentobarbital banned its use in executions. McGuire raped and murdered Joy Stewart in Preble County in 1994. Opponents of his execution argued that he would die by suffocation “in agony and terror.” Ronald Phillips of Akron had been scheduled to be the first to die by the new method, but Gov. Kasich delayed his execution after Phillips said he wanted to donate his organs.
Lawmakers push for counties to get share of money from proposed oil and gas tax hike
A pair of Republican state lawmakers is pushing for Ohio's shale-gas rich counties to get a portion of the money generated from a proposed tax hike on oil and gas drillers. State Reps. Jay Hottinger and Al Landis, respectively of Newark and Dover, say that local communities must be compensated for road, bridge and infrastructure impacts from the shale boom. A proposal moving through the Legislature calls for severance-tax increases of 1 percent, then 2 percent, on horizontally drilled wells, with proceeds funding a statewide income-tax cut. Hottinger said county funds should be set aside first. The new package would generate an estimated $2 billion over 10 years.
French Goodyear workers' lawsuit thrown out
A judge in Akron has thrown out a lawsuit filed by French Goodyear workers trying to save their jobs. Federal Judge Sara Lioi ruled late Wednesday against workers who had sued to block the shutdown of their plant in France. The judge said the class-action lawsuit failed to prove contract violations or interference by the parent company in its French operations. The plant has become a symbol of France's labor tensions. Workers, having failed so far to save their jobs, seized the plant's director and human resources chief for two days in early January to demand bigger severance packages.
No trace of W.Va. chemical in Ohio River
Public water officials say samples show a West Virginia chemical spill is no longer detectable in the Ohio River in the Cincinnati area. The Greater Cincinnati Water Works shut down river intakes late Tuesday night in anticipation of tainted water arriving from the Elk River spill. Monitoring initially showed levels well below would have been considered hazardous. Officials said Thursday the latest tests showed the tainted water had passed through the area.
Toledo student who triggered lockdown sentenced
A 14-year-old Toledo-area student who pleaded guilty to triggering a lockdown and police standoff at a high school has been sentenced to community service.
The boy set off the lockdown at Toledo’s Scott High School in early December when he flashed a pellet gun that looked like a real firearm. The boy pleaded guilty last month to inducing panic and two other charges.
Deportation of Lake County man still on hold
A Lake County man who faces deportation to Mexico still does not know whether he will be forced to leave. Ricardo Ramos was ordered to leave the U.S. by January 1st after he was caught driving without a license and referred to immigration. He’s an undocumented worker who’s lived in Lake County with his three children the past 16 years. He was given a stay following an appeal to U.S. immigration, but that expired Thursday. The Plain Dealer reports his lawyer filed a new stay-of-removal request Wednesday, saying Ramos would qualify for legal status under all proposals for immigration reform in Congress. About 100 supporters marched 20 miles to a Cleveland church on Monday to pray and raise awareness.
Rep. Renacci introduces unemployment legislation
Northeast Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci has introduced legislation that he says would fix a problem with states being able to use their unemployment insurance money for job creation. A program created two years ago gave states flexibility to use their unemployment insurance to help people get back to work, but they had to apply for a waiver through a complicated process. Texas was the only state to apply, and it was denied. Renacci says his bill would simplify the application system to make it easier for states to receive the waiver.
Nonprofit encourages purchase, renovation of empty homes
A nonprofit organization that works to preserve Northeast Ohio’s architectural heritage is trying to encourage people to buy empty, dilapidated homes throughout Cuyahoga County. The Cleveland Restoration Society has partnered with Lakewood’s First Federal Bank in Lakewood so that people can get two low interest loans through one transaction. The county will then provide the bank with a subsidy for the low interest rate.
Ohio AG files appeal on gay marriage ruling
As promised, the Ohio attorney general’s office has filed an appeal to a federal judge’s ruling that requires the state to recognize gay marriages on death certificates. Judge Timothy Black’s ruling late last month stated that Ohio’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional when it comes to recognition of same sex marriage on death certificates. The decision stemmed from a lawsuit filed in July by two gay Ohio men whose spouses recently died and wanted to be recognized on their death certificates as married
Pipeline meeting packed with Portage County residents
More than 100 people packed a public meeting in Portage County to voice their concerns about new oil and gas pipelines crossing the county. Sunoco Logistics Partners recently began operating one pipeline that carries liquid ethane from fracking wells. Another that has not yet been built would carry gasoline and diesel from Ohio refineries to Pittsburgh. The Beacon Journal reports neighbors are concerned about the variety of products the pipeline would carry, and are also upset that land could be acquired for the project through eminent domain. Sunoco officials say they will address all questions with Portage County commissioners by next week.
Tri-C to partner with White House in new initiative
Cuyahoga Community College will take part in a new program aimed at increasing access to higher education for low income and disadvantaged students. Tri-C is partnering with the White House in committing to the “First Year Experience” program. The program will help students identify a career path and the academic plan needed to follow it, as well as increase academic skills. The First Year Experience program is one of four areas the White House has asked colleges and universities to improve upon to help increase the share of college graduates. Other areas include connecting low income students to colleges that fit their needs, increasing the pool of students preparing for college and leveling the playing field when it comes to SAT and ACT preparation.
$120 million for uranium enrichment project
The one trillion dollar federal spending bill passed by Congress includes nearly $120 million for a uranium enrichment facility that’s been in the works for a decade in southeastern Ohio. Maryland-based USEC, which is building the plant in Piketon, said last month that it would likely declare bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2014. It now tells the Columbus Dispatch it will continue to operate, and the bankruptcy is to restructure bonds that were scheduled to mature later this year. In December, the Department of Energy extended a Jan. 15 deadline for the two-year research and development project by three months. The federal government has already spent more than $250 million on the project. USEC has invested about $2.5 billion.