Northeast Ohio gay couple sues after being denied Obamacare coverage
A Northeast Ohio gay couple has filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. government and the state of Ohio, claiming they were unable to obtain family coverage under the Affordable Care Act because Ohio does not recognize their same-sex marriage. Alfred Cowger and Anthony Wesley of Gates Mills were married in New York State in 2012 and have an adopted daughter. They say they received a letter from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Ohio that their policy would be terminated because it was not in compliance with the federal health care law. The suit also claims they were repeatedly denied a plan in the insurance marketplace, despite being told by ACA officials that they should be able to obtain a family policy because they were legally married in New York and planned to file a joint 2013 tax return.
Quinnipiac poll: Kasich holds 5-point lead over FitzGerald
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald is preparing to assess the state of affairs in Cuyahoga County as new poll results show a tightening race with Republican Gov. John Kasich. FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga county executive, delivers his State of the County address at noon today. It comes as a new Quinnipiac University poll shows Kasich leading FitzGerald 43 percent to 38 percent. FitzGerald has gained slightly. Kasich leads among Republicans and men, while Democrats and women back FitzGerald. The survey did not list Democrat Larry Ealy, who's qualified to challenge FitzGerald in May's primary. Kasich holds his State of the State speech in neighboring Medina on Monday.
House set to vote on extra calamity days bill
Lots of school districts are waiting to see what happens in the Ohio House of Representatives today. The House is set to vote on a bill that would give Ohio school districts up to four additional snow days. The bill was suspended last week over a disagreement on the language. If the bill passes the House and Senate, it would go to the governor’s desk as “emergency” legislation, meaning it would take effect immediately.
Former Stark County sheriff sues current sheriff for $90,000
The former sheriff of Stark County has filed a civil suit against the current sheriff in an ongoing dispute. The Canton Repository reports Timothy Swanson seeks nearly $90,000 in damages from Sheriff George Maier. That's what Maier earned in wages and benefits from when he was appointed to the job last February to November when the Ohio Supreme Court removed him from office because he lacked qualifications required by law. The job came open after Swanson decided not to run again, and the candidate who won the November 2012 election resigned because of health reasons. Maier was appointed sheriff by the county’s Democratic Central Committee a second time in December. He’s seeking re-election this fall and the Stark County Board of Elections will decide Friday whether he can appear on the ballot.
Cleveland coalition kicks off six tax renewal campaign
Cleveland-area business owners, politicians and pro sports team officials are launching a campaign ahead of a May ballot issue to extend Cuyahoga County’s sin tax for 20 years. The coalition kicked off its “Keep Cleveland Strong” campaign Tuesday. Cuyahoga County voters will decide whether to extend the tax on alcohol and cigarettes after it expires next year. It helps maintain and upgrade the sports facilities of the Indians, Browns and Cavs. Cleveland Council President Kevin Kelly said the public benefits from the tax, not wealthy team owners. Some members of Cleveland council say they won’t support the tax unless some of the revenues would be used to pay off the $128 million in debt issued to Browns First Energy Stadium.
Elyria man convicted on human trafficking charges
A Northeast Ohio man accused of forcing four women, including a teenager, into prostitution has been convicted of human trafficking. 38-year-old Jeremy Mack of Elyria was found guilty Tuesday of nine counts in U.S. District Court in Akron. Mack was arrested last April along with 24-year-old Avon Lake woman, who previously pleaded guilty. U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach alleges the pair used narcotics to gain control over the four victims.
Warmer temperatures increase flooding concerns
Warmer temperatures and a possibility of heavy rainfall could lead to flooding in parts of Ohio this week. The National Weather Service says the danger for flooding will depend on how much and how fast the rain falls during a Thursday thunderstorm. Meteorologists currently are expecting up to an inch and a half of rain in parts of the state. Any flooding is likely to hit northern Ohio worse, where more snow is melting amid higher temperatures this week. Highs across the state will be in the 40s today and 50 tomorrow. Forecasters say the storm also could bring damaging winds and will be followed by a cold front.
Convicted Ponzi-schemer Durham’s mansion heads to sheriff’s sale
The home of a former Indianapolis businessman convicted of defrauding investors in an Akron company of $200 million is headed to a sheriff's sale. Tim Durham’s nearly 11,000-square-foot home had been listed for sale for $5.5 million. A foreclosure lawsuit was filed in 2010 by lender JPMorgan Chase, which is owed about $4.5 million. Durham was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2012 after a federal jury convicted him of securities fraud, conspiracy and wire fraud for operating a Ponzi scheme with Akron-based Fair Finance.
Democratic lawmaker introduces bill to keep ‘state of the state’ in Columbus
A Democratic state lawmaker wants to make sure the governor’s annual state of the state speech stays in Columbus. State Representative Ron Gerberry of Austintown introduction legislation Tuesday that would require the governor to present the speech in the Ohio House of Representatives chamber at the Statehouse. Gov. John Kasich has delivered the speech in different cities across the state since he’s been in office, saying it allows him to reach new audiences. He’ll deliver this year’s address Monday in Medina. The legislature approved the venue change. Gerberry says attendance by statewide officials has dropped since Kasich moved the location outside Columbus.
Opening statements set today in Ashland slavery case
Jurors have been selected for the trial of two Ashland residents charged with enslaving a mentally disabled woman for two years with her child. Opening statements in the trial of 27-year-old Jordie Callahan and 32-year-old Jessica Hunt are scheduled today in Youngstown federal court. Judge Benita Pearson says the trial could last three weeks, and 60 witnesses may testify. Authorities say the victim was treated with cruelty and forced to do housework under the threat to her and her child from a python or pit bulls. The defendants allegedly looted her bank account and public assistance.