Morning Headlines: DeWine Selects Husted as Running Mate; CHIP's Future is Uncertain

Nov 30, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, November 30th:

  • Rover backers donate $270,000 to emergency services;
  • DeWine and Husted team up to run for governor as joint ticket;
  • Cuyahoga County prosecutor rules overpayments to salaried staff not allowed;
  • Public universities consider tuition hikes and freezes;
  • Ohio attorney general files suit against "sham" charity;
  • Children's health insurance program faces uncertain future;
  • Lawmakers revisit predatory payday lenders;
  • Youngstown schools CEO reconsiders teacher evaluation system after negative feedback;
  • State initiative tests students' ability to fend off cyberattacks;
  • Q arena renovation will temporarily halt events;

Rover backers donate $270,000 to emergency services
The company building the controversial Rover Pipeline across Ohio is donating $270,000 to emergency services in the local counties along the 700-mile pipeline path.  It presented $30,000 to Stark, Carroll and Tuscarawas counties yesterday. The Canton Repository reports the money can be used for equipping or training first responders. The $4.2 billion pipeline has been repeatedly cited for spills and other environmental violations, and the Ohio EPA has called for a halt to the horizontal drilling. The pipeline construction is about 95 percent complete.

DeWine and Husted team up to run for governor as joint ticket
Two of the four Republican candidates for governor have decided to team up. Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted have decided to run together for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. They’ve been considered the front-runners in cash and name recognition ahead of the other two Republicans, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Congressman Jim Renacci. This comes at a time when the Democratic field is expected to expand with the entry of now-former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chief Richard Cordray next week.

Cuyahoga County prosecutor rules overpayments to salaried staff not allowed
A prosecutor has ruled Cuyahoga County administrators should not have paid $1.7 million to salaried employees. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley ruled Wednesday that County Executive Armond Budish’s administration violated the county charter, which prohibits salaried employees from receiving extra pay. An independent audit earlier this year found the overpayments began under former executive Ed Fitzgerald in 2014 and continued into Budish’s tenure. Cleveland.com reports Budish has argued the payments were not overtime and are therefore not subject to the county rules. O’Malley’s opinion states the overpayments created an inconsistency in benefits for county employees.

Public universities consider tuition hikes and freezes
Northeast Ohio’s public universities are all either implementing or considering tuition hikes. The increases would accompany a four-year tuition freeze for incoming freshmen. Kent State University says it is considering locking in tuition, room and board beginning next fall. Youngstown State is considering a tuition freeze and the University of Akron’s trustees are expected to take up the idea at next week’s meeting. Cleveland State University approved a tuition guarantee on Wednesday that still needs approval from Ohio Chancellor John Carey. Ohio State took a similar step this past summer.  The state budget allows boosts of as much as 6 percent if the schools include a tuition guarantee.

Ohio attorney general files suit against "scam" charity
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is accusing an Ashtabula-based charity called Ohio Cops for Kids of pocketing nearly all of the $4.2 million it collected. DeWine filed a lawsuit Wednesday saying organizers of the charity Ohio Cops for Kids and their for-profit solicitor, Telcom Enterprises, operated a scam over a decade that performed “almost no legitimate charitable work.” The lawsuit says the extent of the group’s work appears to be sending boxes of teddy bears to police departments.

Children's health insurance program faces uncertain future
States like Ohio are beginning to wonder what they’ll do to cover the costs of the children’s health insurance program called CHIP. Congress has failed to reauthorize the program that covers nearly 9 million low-income children, including more than 200,000 in Ohio. By the end of December, Ohio will have run out of its 2017 allotment. Ohio's version of the CHIP program, called Ohio Healthy Start, is run through the state’s Medicaid program, which means Ohio must keep the program operating even without federal dollars.

Lawmakers revisit predatory payday lenders
Ohio lawmakers are considering another attempt to reign in payday lenders. A House committee on Wednesday heard the case for cracking down on a loophole that lets lenders in Ohio charge significantly more interest than they charge in other states. But it’s unclear how much more of a crackdown the GOP-dominated legislature will put through. An earlier attempt requires payday lenders to register under the Short Term Loan Act and abide by limits on fees. The Dispatch reports none of the more than 600 payday lending stores are doing that because they’ve reorganized under another section of the law.

Youngstown schools CEO reconsiders teacher evaluation system after negative feedback
Youngstown City Schools CEO Krish Mohip is reconsidering his new teacher evaluation system. The Vindicator reports Mohip is taking a second look at what’s called “shared-attribution measures,” meaning student growth attributed to the district as a whole. But more than half the teachers surveyed don’t like the idea, and Mohip said last night he’s willing to reconsider.

State initiative tests students' ability to fend off cyberattacks
Officials say the inaugural competition for Ohio's cybersecurity virtual training ground will test some high school and college students' skills at defending against cyberattacks in real-world scenarios. Friday's virtual capture-the-flag competition kicks off the first phase of the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee's Cyber Range. That virtual practice space can be used for training and as a testing environment for government, schools and businesses.

Q arena renovation will temporarily halt events
Summer concerts will take a short-term hit due to renovations of the Quicken Loans Arena. The Cleveland Cavaliers organization, which manages the facility, says it will “take a two-season hiatus” in which it will not host events at the arena. In a statement, Cavs CEO Len Komroski said the eventual benefits of the renovation “will be well worth the process.” The renovations will begin at the end of the Cavs’ NBA season.