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Cleveland state lawmaker to be charged for financial report errors
Other morning headlines: Cavs opener turning into star-studded event; Cleveland city officials push to defeat red light camera ballot issue
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
WKSU morning news headlines for Thursday, October 30th:

Cleveland state lawmaker to be charged for financial report errors
A state lawmaker from Cleveland is being charged with two misdemeanors related to errors on required financial reports. Democratic state Rep. Sandra Williams admitted she made mistakes on the forms and apologized for letting down her constituents, but hasn’t yet disclosed details. The charges are expected to be filed today. The 46-year-old is running for state Senate after serving eight years in the Ohio House. The revelation came the same day Democratic state Rep. Dale Mallory, of Cincinnati, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor ethics charges related to taking Bengals tickets from payday industry lobbyists then failing to properly disclose them. 

Cavs opener turning into star-studded event
One of the most anticipated nights in Cleveland sports history is turning into a star-studded event. The Cavs, with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love tip off the regular season at 8pm at the Q. Usher is singing the national anthem, while rapper Kendrick Lamar and rock band Imagine Dragons are performing outside prior to the game. There are also rumors that Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z and Beyonce might be in attendance. Some seats for LeBron James' return are going for five figures on sites like Stub Hub. Some things happening downtown today: The giant LeBron James banner will be unveiled across from the Q at 8 a.m. ESPN will broadcast live throughout the day from E. 4th Street starting at 9 a.m. There’s also events happening beginning at 4pm at the corner of Huron and Ontario. More than 40 local bars and restaurants will host official watch parties throughout the region.  The game will be broadcast nationally on TNT. If you’re headed to downtown Cleveland tonight, expect to pay a hefty price for parking. The Horseshoe casino will charge a 40 dollar special event rate beginning at noon. Other lots will likely charge around 20-25 dollars near the Q. The Greater Cleveland RTA is encouraging fans to use public transit.

Cleveland city officials push to defeat red light camera ballot issue
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and others are making a last-minute pitch to defeat a ballot measure that would severely limit use of automated speed and red light cameras. Approval of a measure on Tuesday's ballot in Cleveland would require police officers to write tickets at automated camera sites. A city spokesman says the cameras are a safety measure and that it would take at least 60 officers to match the enforcement that cameras provide and the loss of $6 million in revenue would hurt the city further. Opponents say the cameras infringe on due process rights. The Cleveland suburb of Maple Heights has a similar measure on Tuesday's ballot.

Five Akron-area universities to share $1 million grant
Five Akron-area universities are sharing $1 million to help students graduate. Kent State, University of Akron, Hiram College, NEOMED and Stark State College will share the grant from the Kresge Foundation. The non-profit launched a national competition in 2011 to see which metro regions could demonstrate the largest increase of graduation rates. The Akron metro region saw associate degrees climb about 23 percent and bachelor’s and advanced degrees rise 20 percent over the four-year period. 

Fracking well springs a leak in Jefferson County 
About 400 homes in eastern Ohio were evacuated after a nearby fracking operation sprung a leak and began shooting invisible gaseous discharge into the air. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says there was no fire, explosion or spillage related to the uncontrolled release Tuesday evening at a well pad in Jefferson County. A spokeswoman said the well operator had a safety plan in place that was executed and no environmental impact resulted from what's sometimes called a blowout. The well will remain closed as the incident is reviewed.

Cleveland BBE gang members arrested in sting
Cuyahoga County prosecutors have charged 12 adult and 26 juvenile members of a street gang with racketeering and other crimes. An indictment announced Wednesday says 28-year-old Sterling Manning Jr. is charged with aggravated murder in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy in July while arguing about what movie to watch. Prosecutors say members of the gang, BBE or Band Boys Entertainment, made rap videos to celebrate their exploits and recruit new members. Prosecutors say the gang's primary turf was a west side Cleveland neighborhood, with juvenile members as young as 13.

Army vet who kept pet ducks convicted; pays fine
A Coshocton County Army veteran who says his pet ducks help relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder and depression has been convicted of a minor misdemeanor for keeping them. Darin Welker was cited for violating a ban on keeping farm animals in West Lafayette. He was found guilty Wednesday and was fined $50 plus court costs. Welker recently gave away eight of the ducks but still has six. Welker argued for a change in the law. 

Groundbreaking held for memorial for victims of Cleveland serial killer 
Relatives of the 11 victims of a convicted Cleveland serial killer have broken ground on a memorial at the site where those victims' remains were found and the man's home was later demolished. About 100 people watched Wednesday as friends and family of the 11 women murdered by Anthony Sowell dug shovels into the ground at the "Garden of 11 Angels" memorial in Cleveland. The ceremony marked the fifth anniversary of the discovery of two bodies inside Sowell's home. Authorities found 11 corpses in and around his house within a week. Sowell was sentenced to death in 2011 and is seeking a new trial.

Fewer than expected businesses file claims in worker's comp. settlement 
The law firm handling a $420 million state settlement over Ohio employers being overcharged for workers' compensation premiums says millions of dollars weren't claimed by the deadline. The Columbus Dispatch reports that 35,000 claims seeking $250 million were filed by the deadline a week ago. Lawyer Christopher Ernst says 40 percent of those eligible haven't filed. The settlement to be paid by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation ends a class-action lawsuit that dragged on for years. A court found that Ohio's state insurance fund for injured workers set up an illegal rating system that resulted in businesses being overcharged.

Former lawmaker convicted of accepting kickbacks likely to be released from prison early
A former Ohio lawmaker convicted of accepting trips, gifts and campaign cash in exchange for promising to introduce legislation is headed to Columbus to seek early release from prison. Forty-four-year-old Carlton Weddington will appear before a Franklin County judge, which usually signals early release is likely to be granted. Weddington, a Columbus Democrat, began a 3-year prison sentence in 2012. Authorities said Weddington accepted all-expenses-paid trips to Miami's South Beach and California's Napa Valley and other perks from a fake business entity set up by the FBI in exchange for legislation he'd introduce.

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