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Noon headlines, Nov. 20, 2012: Bridge bomber, former AG Dann, Toyland, vouchers
Bridge bomber sentence; Dann's license; Trumbull enginner, dangerous toys, voucher lag

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
  • Dowd sentenced bridge would-be bombers
  • Former AG Dann loses license
  • Trumbull engineer pushes predecessor to pay up
  • PIRG's list of dangeroud toys
  • Voucher demands lag well behind supply
  • Bridge would-be bombers sentenced
    The so-called commander of the five men accused of trying to blow up a bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park last spring has been sentenced to 11 ½ years in prison.

    Judge David Dowd sentenced 26-year-old Douglas Wright in the federal courthouse in Akron this morning. He also sentenced one of Wright’s co-defendants, 20-year-old Brandon Baxter of Lakewood, to nearly 10 years.

    Both sentences are significantly less than the U.S. attorneys office wanted; it was pushing for 25 years. But Dowd said that would have been disproportional to the crime.

    The FBI arrested the five on April 30th, after they allegedly tried to set off explosives at the base of the Route 82 bridge over the park. They picked the target as part of a protest of corporate greed and government control. But the explosives were phony, provided by an FBI informant whom defense attorneys says steered the five toward the crime.

    Dowd is still sentencing 20-year-old Connor Stevens of Berea today, and 35-year-old Anthony Hayne tomorrow. The fifth defendant, 23-year-old Joshua Stafford of Cleveland is the only one who did not enter a guilty plea. He’s undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.  

    Former AG Dann loses license
    The Ohio Supreme Court has suspended the law license of former Attorney General Marc Dann for six months.

    The unanimous decision says the suspension was based on Dann’s knowing and reckless behavior, which ended in convictions on misdemeanor charges of soliciting improper compensation and filing false financial disclosure statements.

    (Dann had failed to disclose that a campaign contributor had put up more than $20,000 to lease a private jet for Dan, had made improper payments his campaign funds to aides and had failed to disclose expense reimbursement checks totaling $17,540 that he got from the fund. The court said all his behavior “adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law.”)

    The court said Dann has tried to make good, including admitting what he did. But it also noted that he broke the law while he was “the state’s chief legal officer and one of the most recognizable attorneys in this state.”

    Dann’s law firm issued a statement saying it is disappointed in the decision but respects it, and that it forewarned all clients about what could be coming.  “We are proud of the work that we do to protect the rights of the hard working people that we count among our clients and will continue to wage the battle against foreclosure. 

    Trumbull engineer pushes predecessor to pay up
    The Trumbull County engineer is pushing his predecessor to repay the county more than $100,000 in legal expenses.

    According to the Youngstown Vindicator, Randy Smith wrote to the county prosecutor last month, asking him to go after the reimbursement from David DeChristofaro. The legal bills are tied to a settlement of a civil rights suit filed by three former employees whom DeChristofaro fired the day he took office. The settlements have cost the county about $1 million.

    DeChristofaro resigned in July 2011 after the Ohio Ethics Commission investigated whether he used county resources, equipment and labor for political purposes.

    PIRG's list of dangeroud toys
    Ohio’s Public Interest Research Group has released its 27th annual Trouble in Toyland report, documenting the results of lab tests on toys for lead, cadmium and phthalates.  The report also lists toys that pose a choking hazards or are so loud they could damage children’s hearing.

    Voucher demands lag well behind supply
    Ohio is passing out another round of vouchers for private schools…and the recipients are parents of children with physical and learning disabilities. The demand for the vouchers, though, is nowhere near as high as the supply, at least for now. School Choice Ohio is an advocacy group for alternatives to public schools. Cheryl Bowshier says 11,000 vouchers are available, but only 500 people applied. Still, she says she is not disappointed.

    BOWSHIER on vouchers
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    "This window is in the middle of the school year so a lot of parents wouldn’t want to move their child out of a school in the middle of the year so I think those numbers are great .the next window will be the greater window where a lot more parents will apply for the scholarship, so we're excited about those numbers.


    Bowshier notes that applications for another private school voucher program have increased every year, and she expects the same thing to happen with this “special needs” voucher program.

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