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News Headlines 01/26/12
Judge throws out Stark County tax increase; Clevelanders get first look at lakefront development plan; Democrats target three Republican congressional seats in Ohio this fall
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
News Headlines 01/26/12

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An error on the ballot has led a northeast Ohio judge to throw out a tax increase voters approved to raise money for police. 

The levy that passed in Stark County's Lake Township on Nov. 8 said homeowners would pay 45 cents for every $1,000 of property value. But the correct cost is $4.50 for each $1,000 of valuation, as determined by the county auditor. 

A county judge ruled yesterday that the mistake was sizable enough to mislead voters. 

The levy was meant to generate $2.6 million a year so the Uniontown police department could expand its jurisdiction to all of Lake Township. 

Backers of the measure plan to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.

---

Clevelanders want assurances the newest downtown lakefront development plan is viable. The project could cost as much as $2 billion was unveiled last November. It’s the most recent of a handful of unsuccessful ones over the last decade.

During a public hearing Wednesday, questions ranged from the strength of government support to the strength of funding.

Developers say the project should thrive because it will attract out of town visitors as well as local residents.  By next year, a pedestrian bridge and a marina are expected to be completed, along with some new restaurants. 

The entire project stretches out over 25 years. Developers say the improving economy has increased the interest of private investors in Cleveland’s lakefront.

---

A Democratic super-PAC has marked eight Republican congressional districts as vulnerable in November, three of them in Ohio.

Polls conducted by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling show narrow margins for freshman Republicans Jim Renacci in the 16th, Bill Johnson in the 6th  and Bob Gibbs in Ohio’s 18thdistrict.

The three Ohio congressmen have been given a fair amount of new territory by a map designed to maximize Republican representation.

---

Six people have been indicted in northeast Ohio in a scheme to file tax returns in the names of dead taxpayers.  Authorities say the scheme cost the government at least $1.7 million in revenue.

Federal authorities said yesterday that five people from Ohio and one from Florida are charged with conspiracy to defraud the Government, identity theft and other counts. 

Authorities say the defendants defrauded the IRS in a scheme from 2009 to at August 2011 in which false and fraudulent tax returns were filed with refunds directed to Florida locations. 

The indictment says refund checks were sent to co-conspirators in Ohio.

---

Ohio's top election official says state lawmakers should repeal and replace a controversial new elections law rather than allowing voters to weigh in on it in November. 

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted told a gathering of election officials yesterday that he believes Ohio should start over on the process after the 2012 presidential election. 

He made the call despite the legislation containing many of his own ideas. 

The new election law shortens Ohio's early voting period, among other changes. 

It’s on temporary hold after being cleared in December to go before voters this fall. 

Husted told the Ohio Association of Election Officials that the uncertain status of the law will cause confusion for voters.

---

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel hasn't attended a single monthly meeting of the powerful but mundane state board that decides which banks will hold billions in state deposits. 

The total absence of Mandel, a first-term Republican, makes him unique among modern-era treasurers. 

The Associated Press show every state treasurer since the early 1980s has some record of attending the Board of Deposit in person.

 The treasurer serves as chair. 

A Mandel spokesman said Mandel has a top-notch chief financial officer whom he sends to the meetings.

---

The Ohio House has approved changes made by the Senate to an anti-bullying bill.  It's now on its way to the governor's desk. 

The House agreed to the amendments Wednesday, and the Governor’s spokesman said Kasich intends to sign it into law. 

The bill, known as the Jessica Logan Act, is named for a Cincinnati teenager who hanged herself in 2008 after weeks of bullying at her school. 

It requires schools to expand bullying policies to include harassment and intimidation sent electronically over the Internet or mobile phones. 

Among other provisions, it prevents bullying on school buses, makes training available for staff, and creates an annual bullying policy statement.

--- 

A new study by Case Western Reserve University shows an increase in suburban poverty across the region.  The report by the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development  shows nearly half of the poor in the Cleveland and Akron metro areas live in the suburbs, and over 65% of the poor in the Youngstown metro area living in suburbs.

The report shows a deepening of poverty in virtually every Cleveland neighborhood and an increased poverty rate in three-quarters of the County’s suburban municipalities.

There’s one silver lining - Cleveland's inner core neighborhoods of Downtown and Tremont both saw decreases in their poverty rate.

---

Those petitioning to put medical marijuana  up for a vote in Ohio will need to collect more than 385,000 signatures.

The Ohio Ballot Board, chaired by Secretary of State Jon Husted, decided today that the proposed amendment is only about one issue, so all the petitioners need is 10 percent of the total votes cast for governor in 2010.

The Ballot board is also requiring the signatures come from at least half of the state’s 88 counties. 

---

A Cleveland Clinic women's health specialist made a house call at the Cleveland Metropark's Zoo to demonstrate how to fit an orangutan with a newer brand of an implanted birth-control device. 

Kitra is the first orangutan in North America to get the device called Implanon. Officials say the zoo doesn't want the Bornean orangutan to breed, at least not now.

---

The Cavs rebounded to beat the Knicks 91-81 last night, ending a four-game losing streak. 

Anderson Varejao had 16 rebounds and a powerful dunk down the stretch.  Antawn Jamison added 15 points. 

Kent State dominated Northern Illinois last night in a 90-56 rout.

 

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