Morning Headlines: Nexus Construction Begins; Pastor With Trump Ties Mulls Congressional Bid

Oct 25, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, October 25th:

  • Pastor with ties to Trump mulls congressional bid;
  • Administration makes up 20 percent of general budgets at Ohio's public universities on average;
  • Nexus pipeline construction begins following FERC approval;
  • Middle school teacher found stabbed to death in Strongsville;
  • Manhunt for Cleveland police officer ends in suicide;
  • Relaxed concealed carry regulations pass Ohio House;
  • More Ohioans are requesting absentee ballots this year;
  • Akron mother fatally hits son with her car while dropping him off at school;
  • Charges related to attempted flag burning at RNC are dismissed;
  • Akron's 3-1-1 hotline moves online;
  • Calling hours for slain Trumbull County officer to be held this weekend;
  • Akron Art Museum gets funding to continue Free Thursdays;

Pastor with ties to Trump mulls congressional bid 
A local pastor with close ties to President Donald Trump says he may challenge Congressman Dave Joyce in next year’s Republican primary. Joyce represents Ohio’s 14th district, which includes Ashtabula, Lake and Geauga counties, and parts of Cuyahoga, Trumbull, Portage and Summit counties. The Rev. Darrell Scott publicized his plans for a possible run over the weekend according to Cleveland.com. Scott was a vocal Trump supporter during the 2016 campaign and spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. So far, Joyce is running against Republican State Rep. Matt Lynch and a Democrat attorney, Betsy Rader.

Administration makes up 20 percent of general budgets at Ohio's public universities on average
New data from the state show on average, one out of every five dollars spent by the state’s public colleges goes toward administration. The Ohio Department of Higher Education looked at general fund budgets for the state’s two- and four-year public colleges. The reports says Ohio State spent more than a third of its budget on more than 8,000 administrative employees. Cleveland.com reports colleges are taking issue with the report, saying it classified support staff as administrators. The report was commissioned by a task force established by Gov. John Kasich in 2015 to find ways to streamline higher education spending.

Nexus pipeline construction begins following FERC approval
Construction has begun on the controversial Nexus pipeline. The natural gas pipeline will run more than 250 miles from just east of Minerva to Ontario, Canada. It got final approval from federal regulators earlier this month. Cleveland.com reports critics argue the approval is not yet final because a federal judge still needs to rule on a motion filed in May to block the project. A group opposing the pipeline says it will also ask a judge to stop construction. The pipeline is expected to be operational sometime in 2018.

Middle school teacher found stabbed to death in Strongsville
A Strongsville middle school teacher has been found stabbed to death in her home. The husband of Melinda Pleskovic, 49, called 911 saying someone killed his wife. He told dispatchers that people had been trying to break into their home "all year." Cleveland.com reports police went to the home a handful of times this year for reports of a theft and last week when an unknown man tried to enter the home. Pleskovic had taught in the Strongsville school district for 27 years.

Manhunt for Cleveland police officer ends in suicide
A Cleveland police officer who was on the run while facing charges of attacking his girlfriend has killed himself following a six-hour standoff with police. Officer Tommie Griffin III, 52, shot himself with an AR-15 rifle in a Cleveland home where investigators believe he has been hiding since Monday night. Griffin broke his GPS ankle monitor last weekend and fled. He was scheduled for trial next week on rape charges following an alleged attack on his girlfriend.

Relaxed concealed carry regulations pass Ohio House
The Ohio House has approved a bill that would cut the penalties for concealed-carry permit holders who don't tell police they have a weapon when they're detained by authorities. The proposal passed by the Republican-controlled chamber Tuesday would reduce the penalty for not alerting police about the guns from a misdemeanor that carries up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine to a $25 fine. The bill goes next to the Senate. Gun rights groups are hoping lawmakers do away with the penalties entirely, while police groups oppose the change.

More Ohioans are requesting absentee ballots this year
Ohio's elections chief says requests for absentee ballots are higher this year than during an equivalent election cycle two years ago. Secretary of State Jon Husted says nearly 258,000 absentee ballots have been requested statewide, with nearly 70,000 cast by mail and in-person. Husted says 223,000 absentee ballots had been requested by this time in 2015.

Akron mother fatally hits son with her car while dropping him off at school
A driver in Akron fatally struck her 5-year-old son when he ran in front of her vehicle as she was dropping him off for school. The boy was hit Tuesday morning outside Saint Francis de Sales School in Coventry. The Summit County Sheriff's Office says the boy, whose name has not been released, died at the scene. The mother is not expected to face charges.

Charges related to attempted flag burning at RNC are dismissed
A Cleveland judge has dismissed charges remaining against a dozen protesters arrested last year for trying to burn an American flag outside the Republican National Convention. Judge Charles Patton ruled that the 12 defendants were engaging in constitutionally protected speech. Gregory Johnson, whose 1984 Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson ensured the right to burn the flag in protest, tried to burn a flag last July in Cleveland, but he and 17 other protesters were immediately swarmed by police and arrested. Charges against Johnson and other defendants were previously dropped.

Akron's 3-1-1 hotline moves online
The city of Akron has unveiled a new website for its non-emergency hotline. The 3-1-1 action center lets residents voice concerns and send requests to the mayor’s office. The new mobile-friendly website includes a geolocation feature that lets residents submit complaints about specific locations without an address.  In a release, Mayor Dan Horrigan said the hotline’s move to the internet is a needed upgrade. Residents can still use the regular phone hotline during business hours.

Calling hours for slain Trumbull County officer to be held this weekend
Calling hours for a slain Trumbull County policeman are scheduled for Saturday at Youngstown’s Covelli Centre arena, followed by a Sunday funeral at his nearby Youngstown State alma mater. Officer Justin Leo was shot last Saturday while responding to a domestic disturbance at a home in Girard. Another officer who was with Leo killed the suspected shooter, Jason Marble, who lived at the home.

Akron Art Museum gets funding to continue Free Thursdays
The Akron Art Museum has received a $1.1 million donation from The J.M. Smucker Co. to support the museum’s endowment and Free Thursdays program. Through the support the museum has offered free admission to its galleries on Thursdays with extended hours and membership discounts since 2013.