Second proposal introduced to give schools more calamity days
A second proposal has now been introduced in the Ohio Legislature to help school districts deal with mounting calamity days. This month’s frigid temperatures have caused most districts to use up all of their five allotted calamity days. Democratic Senator Edna Brown of Toledo has introduced a bill that would grant districts three additional calamity days this school year. A bill in the Ohio House would give districts four extra days. Governor Kasich asked legislators on Monday to work with the Department of Education and figure out a solution for districts hit by the bitter cold.
Lawmakers react to State of the Union
Northeast Ohio lawmakers are reacting along party lines to President Obama’s State of the Union Address. In a statement, Republican Congressman Jim Renacci of Wadsworth criticized the federal health care law for raising costs, and says the President’s policies have led to higher taxes and a shrinking labor force. Still, he says, “it is important now more than ever that Congress and the President work together.” Republican Congressman Bob Gibbs of Holmes County echoed Renacci’s comments, saying the President has implemented failed job-creation efforts and that the Senate has stalled on House-passed job-creating bills such as the Keystone Pipeline. Democratic Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Cleveland calls the President’s policy proposals “promising,” including plans to implement job training programs, make college more affordable and create high-tech manufacturing jobs.
Columbus schools to fire principals
Columbus school officials say they are taking steps to fire four principals who the district says were associated with student record-keeping problems. Superintendent Dan Good’s announcement comes on the heels of the Ohio auditor's investigation into attendance data scrubbing. District employees have been accused of altering attendance records for struggling students to improve performance ratings, which can be used to determine government funding and employee bonuses.
Ohio State AD gets promotion
Ohio State has given athletic director Gene Smith the additional title of vice president and has extended his contract through June 2020. His base salary is now nearly $950,000 a year. In addition to continuing his role with the athletic department, Smith also will oversee trademark and licensing deals and Ohio State's Schottenstein Center and several other buildings
Headhunter charged with defrauding Cleveland Clinic
A headhunter has been charged with defrauding the Cleveland Clinic out of about $180,000 for allegedly billing for phantom nursing recruits. Federal prosecutors announced the conspiracy charge Tuesday against 49-year-old Richard Zukowski of Parma. Zukowski ran a recruiting firm and is accused of conspiring with a Cleveland Clinic executive to bill for 10 nonexistent recruits. The government says the clinic administrator got a third of the recruiting commissions. The administrator wasn't identified, and the government didn't comment on the person's status. Zukowski was charged in a court filing that usually signals an upcoming plea agreement.
Willoughby Hills man found frozen in truck still a mystery
Police in Willoughby Hills say they have no reason to suspect foul play or drug use in the death of a man who was found frozen in his pick-up truck Thursday. The Plain Dealer reports they also have not made any progress figuring out why 19-year-old Andrew Norris was outside for so long. His body was found last Thursday, inside his truck in his driveway. He was last seen by his family Tuesday. Family members say he often sat in his truck to talk on the phone. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy, although it could be months before a cause of death is determined.
Cleveland Museum of Art renovation under budget
The Cleveland Museum of Art says its eight-year, $350 million expansion and renovation came in significantly under budget. The museum’s interim director tells the Plain Dealer the $30 million in savings came from continuing the project during the recession, when the museum was able to save $15 million on labor and materials in 2008-2009. Contractor bids were lower because demand was down. The museum also changed the design of its atrium skylight so less steel would be needed for the project. About $9 million of the savings came from repurposing furniture and equipment that was originally planned to be replaced.
Tuskegee Airman from East Cleveland dies
A 97-year-old Tuskegee Airman from East Cleveland has died. The Plain Dealer reports Thomas Austin died January 25th. He enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1941 and worked as an aircraft mechanic and crew chief. He rose to the rank of staff sergeant as part of the group of African-American pilots who fought in World War II. He worked for General Motors in Cleveland after the war.