Cleveland schools plan passes House
The Ohio House approved an education plan for Cleveland that gives Mayor Frank Jackson more power over the school district. And it makes major changes in teacher layoffs and recalls by using an evaluation process instead of strict seniority.
Republican State Representative Ron Amstutz of Wooster says this plan is what’s best for Cleveland’s students.
Many of the Democrats in the Ohio House, including Democratic Representative Debbie Phillips, took issue with a provision in the bill that would allow local property tax dollars to be diverted to charter schools.
Phillips says, “this is a fundamental, philosophical difference as to how we would address this issue.”
The Democrat points out that if this model were expanded statewide, suburban school districts would be on the hook for thousands of dollars for each child who attends charter schools.
The Senate will take up the House version of the Cleveland plan today.
Ohio’s top geologist blamed for leaking map
Ohio’s top geologist has been demoted because of his release last March of a map that revised the scope and potential of the Utica shale, according to an Ohio newspaper.
The Athens News reports Larry Wickstrom also delayed informing officials of an earthquake that hit the Mahoning Valley earlier this year
The newspaper says Wickstrom was dismissed as state geologist and chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources geology division because he failed to have superiors vet the revised map.
That map placed Mahoning, Trumbull, Stark, and Columbiana counties in the "sweet spot" of oil and gas-rich shale formations.
Athens County officials say energy exploration dried up in counties that were earlier considered part of the liquids-rich play after the map’s release.
Wickstrom remains employed by ODNR, but is no longer the state geologist.
Boy Scouts board member wants to end ban on gays
The group that collected nearly 300-thousand signatures supporting an ousted gay scout leader in Ohio says the Scouts are again taking up the issue.
Change.org says a board member of the Boy Scouts of America supports changing the groups long-standing policy prohibiting gay scout leaders.
Board member James Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, says he will work from within the organization to change the ban on gay scouts and leaders.
An Ohio scout leader from Bridgeport, Ohio gained national attention when she was forced out as leader of her son’s Cub Scout pack because she’s a lesbian.
A Supreme Court in 2000 ruling upheld the Scouts’ right to ban gays.
Ohio third graders face tougher reading standards
Ohio legislators are poised to approve Wednesday a compromise plan that would hold back third graders who haven’t learned to read.
Gov. John Kasich had proposed flunking students who don’t score “proficient” on a reading test. State senators had proposed a lower threshold so that fewer kids would be held back.
Now, a compromise has been reached. It would require state education officials to set the initial passing threshold somewhere between those two levels. The chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, Peggy Lehner says the threshold will then grow tougher.
Lehner says the state will, “gradually ramp up the level we’re going to require of our students to be reading while we put interventions in place and get teachers better prepared to teach reading.”
Some school activists are skeptical that there's enough extra money in this proposal to provide extra help for 1st and 2nd graders who have trouble reading.
Chardon shooter trial set for August
A trial date is set for the teenager who pleaded not guilty to fatally shooting three students and wounding three more at a high school east of Cleveland.
The trial for 17-year-old T.J. Lane is scheduled Aug. 14 in Geauga County. He's being tried as an adult on charges of aggravated murder.
Prosecutors say Lane admitted taking a .22-caliber pistol to Chardon High School and firing at students on Feb. 27.
Questions about Lane's mental competency came up when the case was in juvenile court, where a judge found him competent for trial. That issue may be revisited.
Lane could face life in prison if convicted.
President will visit Tri-C on Thursday
President Barack Obama plans to deliver an economic speech tomorrow in Cleveland.
The President is expected to draw sharp distinctions between his vision for the country and that of presidential challenger Mitt Romney.
The speech at a Cuyahoga Community College comes in the wake of bad economic news for the president, including an uptick in unemployment.
Romney, eager to make the election a referendum on Obama, also plans to campaign in Ohio Thursday at a manufacturing plant in Cincinnati.
Bridge bombers denied bond
A federal judge in Ohio says five men charged with plotting to bomb a highway bridge must remain locked up pending trial.
U.S. District Judge David Dowd Jr. ruled Tuesday against the suspects' bond request.
The judge says they must remain locked up to keep them from fleeing and to protect the public.
The men were arrested in late April when they allegedly tried to detonate what turned out to be a dud bomb provided by an FBI undercover informant.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty. One defense attorney called it a case of entrapment.
Car stash now a felony
A bill banning hidden compartments in vehicles in an effort to reduce drug trafficking has cleared the Ohio House
The Senate planned to agree to House changes, sending the measure to Gov. John Kasich .
The bill prohibits altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment. It would exempt dealer-installed special compartments that gun owners said are used to secure legal firearms.
The State Highway Patrol has said current law makes it difficult for officers to pursue charges when they find hidden compartments but no drugs inside.
The bill makes having the compartment itself a felony.
‘Amish Bernie Madoff’ faces sentencing today
An Ohio man is set to be sentenced today for defrauding fellow Amish in 29 states out of nearly $17 million.
A judge in Youngstown will sentence 77-year-old Monroe Beachy of Sugarcreek. He pleaded guilty to mail fraud.
The government says nearly 2,700 people lost about $17 million dollars since 2006.
Beachy is a member of an Amish church near Sugarcreek. His company filed for bankruptcy protection.
Fellow Amish had sought to intervene in the bankruptcy case involving Beachy's investment company and have it settled out of court.
The judge rejected that move.
Beachy is likely to face 12 to 15 years - the charge carries a maximum 20-year sentence.
Drought hits Northeast Ohio
Northeast Ohio is now officially in a drought.
The national weather service says we’re more than 5 inches behind in rainfall - which is a moderate draught.
It’s even worse in the hilly parts of Mahoning, Stark, Tuscarawas, Carroll and Columbiana counties where the drought is " SEVERE ".
It will take almost 8 inches of rain to end the drought there.
Cribbs offers tickets and ride to Omaha for College World Series
One of Kent State's most famous alums is making sure his school is represented at the College World Series in Omaha.
Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs bought tickets and chartered a bus to take Golden Flashes fans to Omaha this weekend to see the school's first appearance in the World Series.
Kent State advanced by beating Oregon in the Super Regional on Monday.
Cribbs, who played quarterback at Kent State, bought 53 tickets for Saturday's game against Arkansas. He said he did it so Kent State would be well represented in Omaha.
The Golden Flashes are the first Mid-American Conference team to make it to the World Series since Eastern Michigan in 1976.