Bacterial levels close six beaches
Swimming advisories have now been issued for six beaches because of high bacteria levels. The advisories affect Edgewater, Fairport Harbor, Huntington, Mentor Headlands and Villa Angela parks and along the Cuyahoga River near Brecksville.
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District posted three of the advisories because of high e-coli bacterial levels after heavy storms forced raw sewage through the combined storm and sanitary sewers and into the lake. More than 3.5 inches of rain fell on the region Tuesday night.
Ohio Supreme Court will consider a case that could unravel the state budget
The Ohio Supreme Court will be considering arguments in a case that could dismantle large parts of the state budget that deal with everything from teacher merit pay to abortion clinics to private prisons.
Yesterday, the court accepted an appeal by Gov. John Kasich of a lower appeals-court ruling. That ruling found lawmakers violated the provision of the Ohio Constitution that requires that each bill deals with only one subject. The case was specifically focused on a provision in the nearly $56 billion budget that authorized the state to privatize a prison. But budgets passed by Ohio’s Republican-dominated Legislature also include other major policy changes.
Kasich argues the judicial order to find and throw out “fraudulent” parts of the budget amounts to an unconstitutional line-item veto by judges.
Heroin pipeline disrupted
The FBI, Cuyahoga sheriff, U.S. attorneys office and Cleveland police will hold a press conference this afternoon outlining the indictments of 31 people on heroin and cocaine trafficking charges.
According to Cleveland.com, the arrests disrupted a Chicago heroin pipeline to Northeast Ohio that’s operated for years, and 28 of the 31 people are now in custody. They include the alleged leader of the group, Mark Makupson. The case began with an informant’s tip in 2010.
Suarez' political contribution case wraps up
Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys were making their closing arguments to the jury today in the case of a North Canton marketer accused of steering $200,000 in political campaign contributions through straw donors.
The U.S. attorney’s office maintains Ben Suarez was trying to buy political influence. But Suarez’ attorneys argue he was asking Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel – who was running for Senate – and Congressman Jim Renacci for legitimate constituent service. Suarez was fighting a multi-million dollar consumer lawsuit filed against him in California and wanted a federal law passed to prohibit such suits.
State agency pays up in public records case
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is once again paying a group because the state agency didn’t turn over public records within a reasonable amount of time. The $1,000 settlement with the Athens County Fracking Action Network is the third public records settlement ODNR has agreed to.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the action network asked for the records in January, and sued in March when it hadn’t received them. The network wanted the records to appeal a decision by agency to allow a company to open a fracking-waste injection well southeast Ohio.
The department has not admitted it did anything wrong.