Morning Headlines: Death Row Inmate to be Executed Despite Illness; Mnuchin Pitches Tax Plan in Ohio

Nov 15, 2017

NOTE: The story about the execution of an ill death row inmate has been updated. Alva Campbell Jr.'s execution was delayed after officials could not find a suitable vein for the lethal injection.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, November 15th:

  • Death row inmate will be executed despite illness;
  • Charges in fentanyl overdose death dismissed over lost documents;
  • Sierra Club files suit to halt NEXUS pipeline construction;
  • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin pitches tax reform in Columbus;
  • Republican Tom Patton  drops out of 16th district race;
  • National grant funds financial services for Akron's low-income residents;
  • Bishop Perez selected to lead Catholic panel on diversity;
  • TimkenSteel presents a second offer to workers;
  • Down syndrome abortion ban clears committee, heads to full Ohio Senate;
  • Akron gets UberEATS;

Death row inmate will be executed despite illness (UPDATED 11/16/17)
This morning, the state was scheduled to execute a condemned killer who will be provided a wedge-shaped pillow to help him breathe as he's put to death. Campbell's execution has been postponed to June 5, 2019. Inmate Alva Campbell was sentenced to die for killing a teenager during a carjacking two decades ago. The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stop the execution. Campbell's attorneys have warned the inmate's death could become a spectacle because of his breathing problems and because an exam failed to find veins suitable for intravenous delivery of the execution drug. They argued he was too ill to execute, and also should be spared because of the effects of a brutal childhood.

Charges in fentanyl overdose death dismissed over lost documents
A Summit County Common Pleas Court judge has dismissed charges in a fentanyl overdose death after documents mailed by the imprisoned defendant got lost. Imprisoned defendants who file paperwork for a speedy trial are supposed to go to trial within six months under Ohio law. LeTroy Vaughn, of Akron, argued his case should be dismissed because that window passed. The Beacon Journal reports documents were received by the clerk’s office but never made it to the prosecutor’s office. Vaughn remains in prison on unrelated drug charges. Akron Clerk of Courts Jim Laria says his office has since changed its procedure for handling certified mail.

Sierra Club files suit to halt NEXUS pipeline construction
Environmental groups are asking a court to stop construction of a natural gas pipeline that will run across northern Ohio and into Michigan and Canada, the latest in a series of challenges against pipelines being built to transport gas from shale deposits in Appalachia. The lawsuit filed Monday by the Sierra Club and others is requesting a new review of whether the NEXUS pipeline is needed. It also challenges the decision made by the federal commission that oversees gas pipelines that allowed construction to move ahead. Within the past month, surveyors have started staking the route and crews have cleared trees for the 255-mile-long pipeline, one of several being built or in the planning stages to carry gas from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin pitches tax reform in Columbus
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took his pitch for tax reform to Ohio on Tuesday, saying the plan is "all about creating economic growth." At a moderated lunch forum hosted by the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Mnuchin said President Donald Trump wants to deliver a middle-income tax cut and to make the tax code that's simpler and more internationally competitive — with the end goal of boosting the overall American economy. Both the House and Senate bills have been promoted as needed relief for the middle class. They would deeply cut corporate taxes, double the standard deduction used by most Americans, and limit or repeal the federal deduction for state and local property, income and sales taxes.

Republican Tom Patton  drops out of 16th district race
A Republican state lawmaker has dropped out of the race for Ohio’s 16th Congressional District. Cleveland.com reports that Tom Patton of Strongsville announced today that part of his reason for quitting the race was a family health crisis. Patton has also lagged in fundraising for the seat left open by Jim Renacci’s bid for governor. Patton, who has represented Cuyahoga County in the state legislature for more than a decade, says he will likely run again for his state seat. Patton’s departure leaves former Ohio State University football star Anthony Gonzalez, Stark County State Rep. Christina Hagan, and Clevelander Kit Seryak still in the running for the Republican nomination.

National grant funds financial services for Akron's low-income residents
Akron is receiving a grant to provide financial services to low-income residents. A total of 12 cities across the U.S. are getting $20,000 from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. The grant will go toward helping low-income residents pay off debts and save money with free financial counseling. A “financial empowerment center” will be built in Kenmore, in a space that used to be a Huntington Bank. An Akron city official tells Cleveland.com they hope to build more centers across Summit County.

Bishop Perez selected to lead Catholic panel on diversity
A national Catholic group has chosen the head of Cleveland’s Catholic Diocese to help spread the church’s message to more diverse communities. Bishop Nelson Perez was elected Tuesday to lead the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church. Leaders within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted overwhelmingly in favor of Perez, who will serve a three-year term. Perez became Cleveland’s first Hispanic bishop earlier this year.

TimkenSteel presents a second offer to workers
A second contract offer from TimkenSteel is before the company’s employees. Members of United Steelworkers Local 1123 voted down a previous offer over inadequate healthcare and retirement. Meanwhile, workers at Timken’s bearings plant rejected a three-year contract offer last week. The Canton Repository reports they hope to meet with Timken management in the coming days. TimkenSteel employees will vote on that company’s offer Thursday. These are the first negotiations with Local 1123 since Timken split into two companies about three years ago.

Down syndrome abortion ban clears committee, heads to full Ohio Senate
A bill to ban abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis is headed to a full vote in the Ohio Senate. Senate Bill 164 is sponsored by Republican Sen. Frank LaRose of Hudson. It would ban abortions of unborn children who have – or might have – Down syndrome. The bill won committee approval in a vote Tuesday. It was almost a party-line vote, with one Republican senator voting no.

Akron gets UberEATS
Akron is the latest Ohio city to offer its residents a popular meal delivery service. As of Wednesday, Akron residents can use UberEATS to get food delivered from McDonald’s and area restaurants. The Beacon Journal reports more than 30 restaurants have signed on with the service in Akron and surrounding areas. UberEATS charges customers the regular menu price plus a delivery fee. They can also tip the driver within the service’s smartphone app.