Morning Headlines: Early Voting Figures Show Higher-Than-Usual Interest; Polling Places Relocate

Nov 7, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, November 7th:

  • Early voting figures show higher-than-usual interest in off year;
  • Summit County approves drug treatment facility at razed Edwin Shaw hospital;
  • Edwin Shaw rehab facility moves to new Bath location;
  • ODOT closes two more ramps, prepares to repave;
  • Former Browns player would have to use potential settlement to pay back stolen funds;
  • Powerful storms force relocation of polling places;
  • Eighty percent of Ohio officers certified in new deadly force standards, report finds;

Early voting figures show higher-than-usual interest in off year
It’s Election Day in Ohio. Voters will decide ballot issues that would place limits on drug prices and expand victims' rights in criminal proceedings, along with several mayoral races. While low voter turnout is typical in off-year elections, early voting figures in some counties indicate voter interest is higher than normal, particularly in city elections with incumbents facing spirited challenges.

In Cleveland, Frank Jackson is seeking a record fourth, four-year term as mayor, opposed by fellow Democrat and longtime City Councilman Zack Reed. All Cleveland City Council seats are up for election.

Akron voters will decide on a quarter percent hike in the city’s income tax, from 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. The $16 million boost in revenue will pay for road repairs, and upgraded equipment, vehicles and buildings for police and fire services. Mayor Dan Horrigan says the boost is needed to replace cuts in state and federal funding to cities like Akron.

With TV ad blitzes, the statewide issues also have drawn interest. Marsy's Law for Ohio, or Issue 1, aims to expand crime victims' rights to more closely match those of the accused. The proposed constitutional amendment assures that victims and their families receive notice of court proceedings, have input on plea deals and other rights. Reported spending on Issue 2 already has topped $65 million, making it the most expensive ballot campaign in Ohio history.  The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act seeks to curb prescription drug prices paid by the state for prisoners, injured workers and poor people. An opposition campaign funded by the pharmaceutical industry says it would reduce access to medicines and raise prices for veterans and others.

Polls close at 7:30 p.m.

Summit County approves drug treatment facility at razed Edwin Shaw hospital
Summit County has voted to allow the site of the former Edwin Shaw hospital in Lakemore village to become a drug treatment facility. Council voted yesterday Monday to allow a new facility to be built on 26 acres where the hospital once stood. The long-term care facility will be operated by two faith-based organizations: Restore Addiction Recovery and Breaking Barriers. The Beacon Journal reports the two groups say they need to raise at least $10 million to build the recovery center. If the treatment centers don't get built, the property will revert back to the county.

Edwin Shaw rehab facility moves to new Bath location
A new physical rehabilitation facility is opening its doors today in Bath Township. The Cleveland Clinic Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Hospital will care for patients recovering from stroke, spinal and brain injuries, and orthopedic conditions. The new 60-bed facility nearly doubles the capacity of the old Edwin Shaw hospital located at the Falls Village Retirement Community. Fifteen patients from the old facility will be transferred to the new hospital today. The Beacon Journal reports this is the third rehab facility jointly operated in the region by the Cleveland Clinic and Pennsylvania-based Select Medical.

ODOT closes two more ramps, prepares to repave
The Ohio Department of Transportation is closing two more ramps as part of its I-76/77 interchange construction project. Workers are preparing to repave between the Central Interchange and state route 59, where traffic has been reduced to two lanes. The Route 8 southbound ramp will stay closed for about two more years. ODOT is advising drivers to use I-277 as a detour. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by the July 2020.

Browns wide receiver would have to use potential settlement to pay back stolen funds
If former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Reggie Rucker gets money from a potential settlement between the NFL and athletes who suffered concussions, he'll have to use it to pay restitution for stealing from his nonviolence nonprofit groups. Rucker's attorney previously said the 70-year-old intends to pay restitution using whatever payment he might get from a class-action settlement in the concussions matter. Cleveland.com reports a federal judge recently made that an order. Rucker was sentenced last year to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $110,000 for using the charities' money to pay gambling debts and personal expenses. Part of his NFL pension payments also are being garnished for restitution. His attorney blamed Rucker's actions on a gambling addiction caused by football-related brain injuries. Prosecutors scoffed at that argument.

Powerful storms force relocation of polling places
Election directors in northeastern Ohio have been scrambling to find new polling locations after a severe storm over the weekend knocked out power across the region. Damage from the storm on Sunday along with the power outages has closed some schools and churches that were supposed to be polling sites today. Electricity in some areas isn't expected to be back on until Wednesday. Portage County has moved two polling locations in Aurora while Geauga County is relocating four polling sites. Cuyahoga County elections officials asked utility crews to put a priority on restoring power to two polling places that were without electricity Monday afternoon. ideastream has a list of the new polling locations.

Eighty percent of Ohio officers certified in new deadly force standards, report finds
The state says law enforcement agencies representing nearly eight of every 10 Ohio officers have been fully certified on new standards governing the use of deadly force and other policies. An advisory board commissioned by Gov. John Kasich created the standards after a series of fatal police shootings in Ohio and nationally. Agencies that don't meet the statewide standards as minimum policies will be listed as noncompliant on an annual list. Standards also include recruiting and hiring. The Department of Public Safety says 506 departments employing over 27,000 officers have either met the standards or are in the process.