Chardon shooting families reach partial settlement in civil suit
The families of three Chardon High School students killed in a shooting have reportedly reached a partial settlement in their civil lawsuit against shooter TJ Lane, his parents and grandparents. The News-Herald reports that the families of Daniel Parmertor, Russell King, Jr., and Demetrius Hewlin have requested the deal be kept sealed. They requested $110,000 each for their mental anguish, funeral expenses and attorney fees. Another victim who was paralyzed, Nick Walczak, later joined the lawsuit. Meanwhile, another wrongful death case filed by the families against the Chardon School District on the second anniversary of the shootings is also pending in Lake County Common Pleas Court. Lake County Alternative School in Willoughby— Lane’s former school— is also named in that suit. Lane, now 19, has appealed his sentenced of life in prison without parole for the February, 2012 shooting.
Tressel named finalist for University of Akron presidency
Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel is among three finalists in the University of Akron's search for a new president. Tressel has been an administrator there for two years. He took the job after being forced out at Ohio State following a scandal in which his players sold memorabilia for cash and tattoos. A campus email Tuesday from Akron trustees says the finalists include provosts from two other schools; Scott Scarborough of the University of Toledo and Ronald Nykiel of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Trustees say each finalist will spend one day next week interviewing with advisory groups. The school's current president, Luis Proenza, is leaving his position in June. Tressel also applied to be president at Youngstown State University, where he previously coached.
Thousands vote early for May primary
More than 73,000 Ohioans have voted early so far in the state's primary election next month. Secretary of State Jon Husted says 155,093 ballots have been requested since the early voting period began for most on April 1. The election includes same-party candidate contests, a statewide ballot issue and about 600 local issues. The deadline to request an early ballot is noon on May 3.
Ohio prepares to spend millions on state park upgrades
State officials are preparing to invest $88 million to upgrade and modernize trails, campgrounds and recreational facilities in Ohio's state parks over the next two years. The outlay headed to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources through the state capital budget is more than four times larger than average. Details are to be announced at news conferences today in Grand Lake St. Mary's and Indian Lake. The money will be shared among Ohio's 74 state parks.
Cuyahoga County Council sign off on downtown convention center hotel
Cuyahoga County Council has approved plans to build a more than $250 million convention center hotel in downtown Cleveland. The vote signs off on three contracts for construction and financing $230 million dollars in bonds. Hilton Worldwide will operate the 600-room facility to be built on the former site of the county administration building at Ontario Street and Lakeside Avenue. It has a targeted opening in June, 2016.
Steubenville volunteer football coach sentenced in party that preceded rape
A volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of a party that preceded the rape of a girl by two Steubenville high school football players has pleaded no contest to two charges. Matt Belardine entered the plea to one count of making a false statement and one count of enabling underage drinking. Other charges were dropped. A judge sentenced Belardine to 10 days in jail and one year of supervision. Two football players were convicted of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl at the 2012 party in a case that drew national attention and divided the community.
Man who put out false Lake Erie distress call to pay nearly half million dollars
An appeals court says an Ohio man whose false distress call triggered a massive, 21-hour search on Lake Erie must pay nearly a half million dollars to the U.S. and Canadian agencies involved in the needless rescue effort. In a 2-1 opinion Tuesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati says a lower court properly ordered 21-year-old Danik Kumar of Sandusky to pay back all costs associated with the March 2012 search for a boat in distress, which has been called a hoax.
Same-sex marriage amendment proposal certified but likely on hold
The Ohio Ballot Board has certified a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize same-sex marriage. That means supporters are now cleared to go out and collect the more than 385,000 valid voter signatures to get the issue on the ballot. Supporters have said they doubt they’ll be able to collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot this year, but expect to go forward next year or in 2016.
FitzGerald announces Cuyahoga home demolition plan
Cuyahoga County’s top official is launching a plan to demolish thousands of abandoned homes. County Executive Ed FitzGerald introduced legislation Tuesday that would allow the county borrow $50 million to create a property demolition fund. His proposal doesn’t include specifics yet, but he said Tuesday he wants to create the fund and have individual municipalities determine which homes come down. The county has 15,000 abandoned properties. FitzGerald said the county could borrow money as soon as June with demolitions starting in the fall.
Eaglets spotted in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park staff and volunteers have spotted two newly hatched eaglets in a huge nest in the Pinery Narrows area of the park. They were born in late March and will remain in the nest likely until mid-to-late July. The park is protecting the birds by blocking off the area around the nest tree, including a section near railroad tracks and downstream from the Route 82 bridge and dam. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail remains open.
Worker's Compensation premiums could drop for private sector employers
Ohio’s private sector employers may see their workers’ compensation insurance rates drop 6.3 percent, beginning July 1. If the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation approves the cut, it would mark the eighth straight year of premiums dropping or remaining flat. Rates for public employers were cut beginning Jan. 1, setting them at the lowest level in 30-some years. Private employers saw a 2.1 percent rate cut last year. Last year the state-run insurance program for injured workers returned about $1 billion to public and private employers across the state in a rebate program.
FirstMerit touts 15 consecutive years of profit
Akron-based FirstMerit is touting 15 years of profitability. The bank on Tuesday announced it’s posted profits every quarter for 15 straight years. Its first quarter profits this year were up 46 percent to $54 million, or 31 cents per share. Loan growth was 2.2 percent, or $308 million. The CEO says recent acquisitions have helped increase the company’s size and profits. It is the first year FirstMerit has operated in five states, and has seen good results in new markets like Michigan and Wisconsin.
Cleveland, Columbus invited to submit bids for Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Committee has sent out invitations to Cleveland and Columbus to submit a bid for the 2016 national convention. They’re among 14 cities receiving invitations, including Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York and Detroit. Columbus was cut from the list of possible hosts for the Republican National Convention a few weeks ago, while Cleveland made the cut and will get a visit from RNC officials next week. Columbus hosted a reception during a DNC meeting in Washington in February.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor to argue against death for inmate
Cuyahoga County’s prosecutor will argue to the Ohio parole board Thursday that a Cleveland man deserves life in prison, not death. Arthur Tyler was convicted of killing Cleveland produce vendor Sanders Leach in 1983 and is to be executed May 28. Prosecutor Tim McGinty has filed a statement that says he still believes Tyler was the triggerman, but the case today would not merit the death penalty. He says carrying out Tyler’s death sentence “may undermine public confidence” in the criminal justice system. Both Tyler and his co-defendant, Leroy Head, gave shifting accounts of what happened the day that the 74-year-old Leach was killed. And McGinty is underscoring that he does not believe Tyler should be released from prison. Last summer, McGinty unsuccessfully pushed for clemency for Billy Slagle. Slagle then committed suicide on the eve of his execution.