Early voting begins today...with changes
Early voting begins today in the state for the May 6 primary. In-person voting hours are mostly from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays in all 88 counties. There are some changes following legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor John Kasich in February. There will be no voting on Sundays and only one Saturday voting day, May 3, the weekend before the primary. This election will also have Ohio’s last “golden week." That is the week in which people can register and vote at the same time. It will be eliminated beginning with the general election in November.
Mumps outbreak grows in central Ohio
Public health officials tracking a growing outbreak of mumps in central Ohio say four-fifths of the cases confirmed so far are linked to Ohio State University. Health officials for Columbus and surrounding Franklin County said the total was 111 cases as of Monday. Seventy-two of those infected by the viral illness are Ohio State students, and nine are staff members. Health officials urge residents to make sure they have received two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, or MMR. Those infected are urged to stay home for a few days, cover their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, and frequently wash their hands.
United cuts more nonstop flights from Cleveland
United Airlines is cutting more nonstop flights from Cleveland's main airport after deciding to drop its money-losing hub there. The Plain Dealer reports United is cutting direct flights from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to Baltimore and Albany, N.Y., in addition to several dozen nonstop flight destinations being eliminated starting this month. United travelers heading to Baltimore and Albany later this year will connect through other airports, making for longer trips and higher prices. The newspaper says a United spokesman blamed the new cuts on regional carrier pilot shortages. United announced two months ago that it would slash daily flights out of Cleveland and close its hub. That's expected to cost about 470 jobs. The loss was feared at the city-owned airport since United merged with Continental several years ago.
Cleveland West Side neighbors support demoted police commander
Residents in Cleveland’s West Side are coming out in support of a former Cleveland police commander who resigned his rank and has been reassigned. The Plain Dealer reports dozens of people crowded into city council chambers last night and presented a 17-hundred signature petition calling for the city to reinstate Keith Sulzer. Sulzer, commander of the Second District since 2007, returned to the rank of captain last week and will move to the community policing unit. The division of police did not explain why Sulzer resigned, other than to say it was voluntary. Sulzer’s supporters say he was forced out and have been holding rallies during the last week.
Cleveland couple drops lawsuit on gay marriage ban
A gay married couple from suburban Cleveland has dropped a lawsuit seeking to overturn Ohio’s gay marriage ban. The couple filed the suit last month, after they said the law was keeping them and their daughter from enrolling in a family policy under the Affordable Care Act. The attorney for Al Cowger Jr. and Tony Wesley Jr. says the family was able to enroll last week through HealthCare.gov. They had argued they were told they were approved for coverage, but when it came time to finalize the purchase, it would not go through because their marriage was not recognized in Ohio. They say the policy they were finally able to secure offered same-sex coverage both on and off the health insurance marketplace. It will lower the family’s deductible and allow a larger tax credit. Other lawsuits seeking recognition of gay marriages on birth and death certificates are still pending.
Ohio House bill could freeze community college tuition
A bill in the Ohio House could freeze tuition for students enrolled at the state’s community colleges. The legislation would allow community or technical colleges to establish tuition guarantee programs, setting rates for students to complete degrees in specified periods of time. Higher rates would then kick in if the degree isn’t completed on time. Cuyahoga Community College plans to implement a similar program next school year and Tri-C officials testified during a House committee meeting on Monday. The chancellor of the board of regents would have to approve the programs should the bill clear the legislature.
Cuyahoga County juvenile court to receive more money
A Cuyahoga County Council committee has agreed to give the county juvenile court more money to curb violence in its detention center, but only about half of what the court requested. The committee approved $250,000 to hire a dozen dentition officers, rejecting a request for $550,000. County leaders say they found the quarter million dollars already in the court’s budget. The Plain Dealer reports threats to staff were up more than 300 percent since 2011 and assaults on residents were up 230 percent. The measure now goes to the full council for approval next week.
Clevelanders get special premiere of Captain America
The film Captain America: Winter Soldier opens this Friday, but some Clevelanders will get a special premiere today. Cleveland is one of five cities to host a premiere of the movie. Directors Anthony and John Russo were raised in Cleveland and will attend the premiere at the Cinemark at Valley View. Portions of the film were shot in Cleveland. Greater Cleveland Film Commission President Ivan Schwarz says a mixture of tax credits and a good reputation have led to about 40 films being shot in Northeast Ohio in the past four years. Schwarz says these films have brought $300 million into the region in the last four years.
Report: Taxpayers foot bill for charter school bussing
Taxpayers are largely footing the bill for public school buses that have to drive farther to transport students attending charter schools. The Akron Beacon Journal and NewsOutlet analyzed statewide data and determined state officials have forced traditional public schools to traverse their cities to pick up and deliver kids to privately run charter schools, often while cutting transportation to their own kids. They report it costs about 44 percent more per child to deliver the charter school attendees door to door. A child attending a traditional public school and transported on a district bus cost on average $4.30 per day in 2012. It was nearly $2 more for a charter-school student. Since then, 22,000 more kids have been enrolled at the state's charter schools.
Northeast Ohio companies get tax credits
Three companies in Northeast Ohio will get nearly $400,000 in job creation tax credits. The credits will make way for 130 new jobs. The Plain Dealer reports the companies will use the credits toward new payroll tax obligations. Plumbing products maker Oatey Company of Cleveland will add 80 full time jobs with its credit. Strongsville-based National Automotive Experts plans to add 30 full-time jobs to its business of marketing and distributing aftermarket vehicle warranties and service contracts. And Willoughby’s Cast Nylons will add 20 full time jobs at its plant making nylon sheets, rods, bars, and other items. In total, the Tax Credit Authority approved incentives for 15 projects across the state that will add more than 650 jobs.
Bill would allow drivers to warn of speed traps
An Ohio lawmaker wants to put into law a motorist’s right to warn oncoming drivers that a cop is around the bend. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Representative John Becker of southwest Ohio introduced a bill this week that would allow drivers to flash their ‘brights’ to warn of hazards ahead, including a radar wielding state trooper. Becker’s bill follows a federal court ruling in Missouri that a driver has a right to warn others of police speed traps. A spokesman with the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio says Becker's bill is unnecessary because motorists are rarely penalized for flashing headlights.
Indians win on opening day
The Indians got an opening day shut out win over the Oakland A’s, 2-0. Nyjer Morgan hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth inning against new Athletics closer Jim Johnson. Nick Swisher added an RBI single. In the sixth, crew chief Mike Winters became the first umpire to initiate a review under the expanded replay system, making the call after a collision at home plate. Winters requested the review on a close play that kept Cleveland from breaking a scoreless tie. Justin Masterson, in his third consecutive Opening Day outing, allowed three hits, struck out four and walked one in seven scoreless innings. John Axford got his first save as the Tribe’s new closer. Catcher Yan Gomes went 1 for 3 only hours after finalizing a new $23 million, six-year contract with the Indians. The two teams play again tonight at 10pm with Corey Kluber on the mound for the Tribe….against Scott Kazmir, who played for the Indians last season.
Kyrie Irving cleared to return to practice
Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving has been cleared to return to practice after missing eight games with a biceps injury. Irving strained his left biceps on March 16 against the Clippers. He can resume full contact immediately, but the Cavs said his status for important games this week at Orlando and Atlanta has not been determined. Cleveland is 4-4 since its leading scorer was injured. The Cavs, who enter the week just 2½ games behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, will likely ease Irving back into the lineup. Also, an MRI on forward Anderson Varejao's shoulder revealed a sprained AC joint. The 6-foot-11 Varejao will not play Wednesday against the Magic and the team said his status beyond that will be updated later.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony plans announced
Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced who will be inducting this year’s class during the ceremony April 10 in New York. Chris Martin, of Coldplay, will usher in Peter Gabriel, while Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello will induct Kiss. R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe will give the speech for Nirvana. The Roots’ Questlove will give Hall and Oates their honor. The Eagles’ Glenn Frey will induct Linda Ronstadt, who will receive a musical tribute from Stevie Nicks, Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow. Bruce Springsteen will hail his E Street Band.