Morning Headlines: Kaptur Calls for Election Hacking Investigation; Cleveland Police Reject Contract

Dec 20, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, December 20:

  • Property owners' lawsuit against NEXUS pipeline is dismissed;
  • Cleveland police union holds out for a better deal;
  • Akron set to name new police chief;
  • Ernest Angley's mega church accused of taking advantage of elderly woman with dementia;
  • Mother of missing child in custody after remains were found;
  • Rep. Marcy Kaptur calls for investigation of Russian hacking of Ohio voting machines;
  • $28 million in state historic tax credits awarded;
  • Cleveland State is not releasing names of finalists for president;
  • Canton approves service agreements between city and HOF Village;

Property owners' lawsuit against NEXUS pipeline is dismissed
A federal judge has delivered a blow to some Ohio property owners' efforts to stop construction of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline. U.S. District Judge John Adams in Akron on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed in May by more than 60 property owners. They wanted the court to prevent the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from approving construction plans for the 250-mile-long NEXUS pipeline. The judge accepted a magistrate's recommendation that the court in northern Ohio lacks jurisdiction to consider the challenge. The $2 billion project is designed to carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas daily from the Utica and Marcellus shale fields in Appalachia across northern Ohio into Michigan and Ontario, Canada.

Cleveland police union holds out for a better deal
Cleveland police have rejected a three-year contract that includes pay raises after the first year. reports the city and the union will now go to arbitration to work out a new deal. Incoming Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Jeff Folmer had campaigned against the contract saying the union could negotiate a better deal. The previous contract expired in March of 2016 but negotiations were delayed during planning for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Akron set to name new police chief
The city of Akron is expected to name Interim Akron Police Chief Kenneth Ball the department's permanent leader today. Ball replaced former Chief James Nice, who resigned in August after what Mayor Dan Horrigan called a pattern of conduct unbecoming of an officer.  Nice allegedly made derogatory and racially inappropriate comments about fellow officers and had a relationship with a subordinate. Ball has been an Akron police officer for 26 years.

Ernest Angley's mega church accused of taking advantage of elderly woman with dementia
A mega church based in Cuyahoga Falls is accused of coercing an elderly woman with dementia out of her life savings. The Dispatch reports that the Chicago area-woman cleared out her savings and wrote a $340,000 check to Ernest Angley's Grace Cathedral. The Cook County Public Guardian office put a freeze on the check and is accusing the church of stalking the woman for money. The accusations came on the same day as news that the church and its TV station are being sued by Beck Energy Corp. for failing to pay a $3.6 million loan regarding an oil well on the property.

Mother of missing child in custody after remains were found
Police say human remains consistent with those of a young child have been found in the yard of a Cleveland home after two days of searching for a possible missing child. They say searchers found the remains Tuesday while digging in the yard after cadaver dogs on Monday turned up nothing. They say the boy's mother Larissa Rodriguez, 34, originally said five-year-old Jordan was in Houston with paternal relatives. She has been taken into custody but has not been charged.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur calls for investigation of Russian hacking of Ohio voting machines
Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo is calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to investigate Russian hacking of voter machines in Ohio. reports Kaptur’s office is claiming Ohio was among 21 states targeted by the Russian government in the 2016 election. Kaptur sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan calling for briefings from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security on alleged attempts to hack voting systems. The letter cites testimony from then-FBI director James Comey, who said hacking from foreign governments is a problem that will not go away. Representatives from 18 of the states targeted by hackers also signed on to the letter. Speaker Ryan’s office has yet to comment.

$28 million in state historic tax credits awarded
The state has awarded funding to projects seeking historic preservation tax credits. About a third of the $28 million dollars awarded from the Ohio Development Services Agency will be spent in Northeast Ohio. Funding includes $5 million to turn the Illuminating building in Cleveland's Public Square into residential and retail space. More than $1 million will help create apartments at the former Grossman Paper Box company on Superior Avenue in Cleveland. About $250,000 has been awarded to The Ohio Brewing Company to help convert the former Fox Buick Sales Building in Cuyahoga Falls into a brewpub.

Cleveland State is not releasing names of finalists for president
Cleveland State University is considering finalists to be the school’s next president. But it is not disclosing the names of those finalists. reports CSU is using a private firm to hold all of the paperwork, meaning it’s no longer subject to laws governing public records. The search committee says revealing prospective candidates’ names could jeopardize their current employment. Transparency advocates object to the practice, saying it prevents the public from weighing in. Kent State University similarly did not release names of finalists before naming current president Beverly Warren in 2014. Current CSU president Ronald Berkman will retire after this academic year. Finalists to replace Berkman will be interviewed in January.

Canton approves service agreements between city and HOF Village
The city of Canton has approved a measure defining which services will be paid for by the city and the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village. The agreement makes the Village responsible for infrastructure maintenance and repairs. That includes snow removal on the Village’s private roads. The city will provide fire and police services.