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Portman and Brown says McDonald is right for the VA
Other morning headlines: VP Biden; rape kits, Brennan's Colony, pollworkers, Pepper vs. Dewine; Tube steel fight; Infocision

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M.L. Schultze
Ohio Sens. Brown and Portman expect tough questioning, but confirmation, for McDonald.
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In The Region:
  • Biden heads to Ohio
  • Portman and Brown says McDonald is right for the VA
  • Cleveland cleans out rape kit backlog
  • Brennan's Colony reopens
  • Husted orders training for all pollworkers
  • Pepper criticizes DeWine contract as pay to play
  • Tube steel import fight continues
  • Beacon Journal: InfoCision pays charities and others $1.7 million
  • Bobcat sightings
  • Schwebel recall
  • Investigators try to trace body from Progressive Field to a landfill 
  • Ohio fair features  Kasich, bears and the sloppy donut
  • Indians take four of six since the All-Star break
  • Lindor takes another step closer to the bigs
  • Cavs make a trade
  • Soap Box derby is underway
  • Manziel's jersey is a hot seller
  • LeBron says he's sorry ... with cupcakes
  • Biden heads to Ohio
    Vice President Joe Biden is expected to visit Cincinnati tomorrow, where he’ll headline the National Urban League’s annual conference. The conference is focusing on jobs and pay in U.S. cities. Also speaking is Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky and the heads of the national GOP and Democratic Party.

    Portman and Brown says McDonald is right for the VA
    Ohio’s U.S. senators introduced Bob McDonald with strong endorsements Tuesday, the first day of McDonald’s confirmation hearing to take over the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    McDonald is the former chairman of Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati and a registered Republican nominated by a Democratic president. The bipartisanship was echoed by Ohio’s senators. 

    Democrat Sherrod Brown told the Senate Veterans Affairs committee, “There is no doubt in my mind that Bob McDonald understands the gravity of this mission.” 

    And Republican Rob Portman added:

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    “I think Sherrod has said it well. This is a distinguished patriot who is willing to step forward for his country. And I hope as you consider his nomination, the right questions are asked but that we be sure we can get him there as soon as possible to provide some direction to an agency that needs it badly.”

    The 61-year-old McDonald is nominated to replace Eric Shinseki, who resigned after reports surfaced of lengthy delays and falsified reports regarding treatment at VA facilities.

    Cleveland cleans out rape kit backlog
    Cleveland police have eliminated a backlog of untested sexual assault kits and sent the last of nearly 4,000 rape kits to a state crime lab. It could take  another year before the testing is complete.

    The Plain Dealer reports more than half those kits have been tested for DNA to be compared with profiles in a law enforcement database. That has led to nearly 170 indictments.

    Authorities began the effort in 2009 to catalog and test kits that weren't previously tested because of earlier limits on what evidence the state lab would process. Some of the evidence dated to 1993.

    A prosecutor says every Cleveland rape kit from 1993 to 2000 should be tested by September.

    Brennan's Colony reopens
    Brennan's Colony pub reopened yesterday, three weeks after its popular owner was killed in a robbery attempt. Jim Brennan was shot to death in his Cleveland Heights restaurant, and four young men have been charged. Customers who filled the restaurant when it reopened described Brennan as a mentor and a part of their lives.

    Husted orders training for all pollworkers
    Secretary of State Jon Husted has ordered all Ohio poll workers to get training before the fall elections. The directive will require the training for every poll worker this year regardless of their previous experience.

    Pepper criticizes DeWine contract as pay to play
    Democrat David Pepper is getting sharper in his attacks on Attorney General Mike DeWine, accusing him of “running a massive pay-to-play operation.” 

    Pepper, who is running against DeWine in November, is criticizing contracts DeWine’s office gave a private firm to try to collect hundreds of millions of dollars owed to the state. He says DeWine is rewarding political contributors. Dewine’s office says Pepper is twisting data. Pepper specifically criticized the contract with CELCO, which had no collections experience.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports it was formed just two days before DeWine’s office solicited bids for a contract, and that a scoring sheet used by DeWine’s office shows a handwritten increase in CELCO’s score that allowed to qualify for the contract. Though other attorneys general have been criticized for favoring political supporters, Pepper says its grown worse under DeWine.

    Tube steel import fight continues
    Youngstown-area Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan continues to lobby the International Trade Commission to uphold a ruling that  Korea is illegally dumping steel pipe used in oil drilling in the U.S.

    Ryan submitted written testimony yesterday that reiterates claims by most of Ohio’s congressional delegation that Korea and eight other countries are unfairly subsiding the cost of producing the tubular steel. He’s urging the commission to uphold a preliminary ruling by the Commerce Department that the steel is being dumped unfairly. 

    The ruling followed a complaint filed by – among others -- JMC Steel, Vallourec Star and other Ohio steelmakers. Vallourec built a $1 billion tubular steel plant in Ryan’s district in anticipation of the drilling boom. 

    Beacon Journal: InfoCision pays charities and others $1.7 million
    Infocision has agreed to pay $1.7 million to settle claims that it misled donors.

    The Beacon Journal is reporting that more than a million dollars of the settlement is going to the charities in whose name the Summit  County telemarketer raised money. About a third is going to the law firms who sued infoCision, saying it misrepresented how much of the money it raised was actually going to the charities. The newspaper says the settlement was initially approved last year, and distributed this spring. InfoCision is not admitting to any wrongdoing. A statement from the company says it agreed to the settlement “to allow our clients and employees to put this matter behind them.”

    Bobcat sightings
    The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has confirmed 200 bobcat sightings in Ohio last year – the first time the number has reached that high. The sitings were verified by photos, videos, road kills, spotting by qualified personal and accidental trapping. Most were found in Noble County, but the cat showed up in 36 counties in all. The bobcat was recently removed from the Ohio Endangered and Threatened Species List, but it remains protected in the state.

    Schwebel recall
    Schwebel Baking Co. has stopped production and withdrawn products in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and four other states because of bacteria found in a routine inspection of the Youngstown plant.

    A company release says packages with codes beginning with the letter A are covered by the recall. Schwebel has four bakeries in Ohio.

    The bacteria -- Listeria monocytogenes -- can cause infections in children, older people and those with weakened immune systems.

    Investigators try to trace body from Progressive Field to a landfill 
    A body found at a northeast Ohio landfill has been identified as a 22-year-old Fremont Ohio man who disappeared during a concert at Friday night at Progressive Field.

    Lorain County sheriff's Capt. Jim Drozdowski says the body of Cory Barron was found yesterday at the county landfill in Oberlin.

    An autopsy is planned today, and investigators are looking into whether Barron fell down a trash shoot at Progressive Field. The Cleveland Indians, who operate the ball park, say they are cooperating and offered condolences to Barron’s family.

    Ohio fair features  Kasich, bears and the sloppy donut
    The Ohio State Fair – one of the biggest in the country – kicks off today in Columbus. The new attractions this year include a bear show, a gymnastics and dance performance on horseback, and foods such as the sloppy donut, banana dog, chicken dog and funnel cake sundae.

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich will tour parts of the fairgrounds with his wife, Karen, and their twin 14-year-old daughters. Ohio's governor routinely opens the event, but it is unusual to make it a family affair. Kasich is seeking re-election this year. He faces Democrat Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive in Cleveland.

    Indians take four of six since the All-Star break
    The Indians recalled pitcher Danny Salazar from Columbus yesterday and he went on to win last night. His 8-2 win over Minnesota was his first in more than two months. Salazar was the surprise young pitcher last year but struggled this year before he was sent down in May. 

    Cleveland has won four games out of the six since the All-Star break.
    Santana hit a no-doubt solo shot to right field in the fifth to put the Indians up 4-1. He also had two doubles and a bunt single to beat a defensive shift. Nick Swisher had his first three-hit game of the year for Cleveland.

    Lindor takes another step closer to the bigs
    Shortshop Francisco Lindor has been promoted from Akron to Columbus and is expected to see a call up to Cleveland before the end of the season. Lindor was the Indians No. 1 draft pick in 2011 and at 20, was one of the youngest players at the AA level. He’s been rated among the top five prospects in the minor leagues and his defense has been called Gold Glove quality.

    Cavs make a trade
    The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired guard John Lucas III and forwards Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy from the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are getting guard Carrick Felix and the second-year of his guaranteed contract, as well Cleveland’s 2015 second round draft pick and $1 million– Erik Murphy, John Lucas and Malcolm Thomas.

    The three players have non-guaranteed contracts totaling around $3.3 million.

    Soap Box derby is underway
    The 77th Firstenergy all American soap box derby continues today at Derby Downs in Akron with trial Run and weigh ins, as well as ultimate speed record attempts.

    Manziel's jersey is a hot seller
    Johnny Manziel was the Browns second draft pick and has been told by team not to expect to be the starting quarterback. But that’s not slowing down fans. The quarterback’s jersey is the top seller on the NFL list. His No. 2 outsold every other jersey from April 1 to July 17 on

    LeBron says he's sorry ... with cupcakes
    LeBron James has sent a personal apology – coming in the form of cupcakes -- to his neighbors in Bath Township. The apology was for the furor of fans and media who camped outside his home before he announced his decision two weeks ago to return from Miami to the Cavs.

    The cupcakes James came from the LeBron James Family Foundation and were from Baker Blvd. Decadent Desserts in Fairlawn.  The Plain Dealer is reporting that each box had a dozen "Just A Kid From Akron Cherry Cola" and "Homecourt Chocolate Chunk" cupcakes.

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