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Morning news headlines for February 12, 2013
Cleveland and Canton accused of attendance-rigging; State Board of Ed president keeps job after controversial Facebook post; State of the State open to the public

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
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  • Cleveland, Canton now among 9 school districts accused of attendance rigging
  • State report cards now ready for release
  • State Board of Education president escapes firing for Hitler post on Facebook
  • State of the State address to be open to the public
  • Cleveland City Council to consider virtual vote of confidence in police chief
  • Man pleads guilty after bringing weapons into Crocker Park movie theater
  • Accused Chardon shooter to undergo evaluation
  • Akron approves more student housing
  • Cleveland closer to requiring hands free devices for cell phones
  • Cleveland, Canton now among 9 school districts accused of attendance rigging
    Ohio Auditor David Yost says a total of nine school districts in the state are now formally accused of manipulating attendance data to improve their state report cards. Yost on Monday said Cleveland and Canton, along with three southwestern Ohio district were added to the list after a months-long statewide investigation that included more than 300 schools. The findings are being turned over to federal officials. The nine districts improperly withdrew and re-enrolled students during the 2010-11 school year to remove their test scores and absences from calculating state report cards. Many of the nine districts insist they have done nothing wrong or implied they made honest mistakes.

    State report cards now ready for release
    The Ohio Department of Education says it's ready to release school districts' long-awaited report cards now that the review of attendance data practices has been released. The report cards for the 2011-2012 school year should have been published last summer but were delayed because of the statewide investigation into attendance data scrubbing.  Education Department officials say the report cards and other school rankings will be released by month's end.

    State Board of Education president escapes firing for Hitler post on Facebook
    Ohio's top education official has apologized for an anti-gun-control Facebook posting using a photo of Adolf Hitler — but some state school board members say she must go further. Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terhar opened Monday's meeting saying she's sorry and understands anything she does may find its way into the public domain. Terhar has acknowledged she made a mistake by sharing a photo of the Nazi leader on Facebook while criticizing President Obama's new gun-control efforts. She maintains she wasn't trying to compare Obama to Hitler. Several board members said she's compared Obama to a "monstrous killer" and should resign. A formal motion to remove Terhar from her post was rejected 10-6.

    State of the State address to be open to the public
    Governor Kasich is making his State of the State speech open to the public next week in Lima - but you’ll have win a lottery to get in. Kasich says people can register for the lottery through Thursday. The speech is one week from today. Kasich again plans to deliver the annual policy address outside the Statehouse. He took last year's speech to an elementary school in Steubenville in eastern Ohio. The Republican governor says the idea is to make government more accessible to the people.

    Cleveland City Council to consider virtual vote of confidence in police chief
    Cleveland City Council will consider a resolution that would be a vote of confidence for Police Chief Michael McGrath and Mayor Frank Jackson. The Cleveland police union called on McGrath to resign last week, after a state attorney general’s office report showed the department’s leadership and communications failed during a chase that left two people dead in a barrage of police gunfire. The Plain Dealer reports Councilman Zack Reed introduced the resolution in support of McGrath, who has denied there were problems with the system. It has been assigned to a committee for discussion. Thirteen officers fired nearly 140 bullets following the chase last November that killed Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. No weapons were found in or around the car. The state has handed the case over to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, who will present it to a grand jury.

    Man pleads guilty after bringing weapons into Crocker Park movie theater
    A Northeast Ohio man arrested with a loaded gun, ammunition and knives at a showing of the latest Batman movie in Westlake has pleaded guilty to two weapons charges. 38-year-old Scott A. Smith of North Ridgeville still faces trial Wednesday on a charge of having a weapon under disability, which prosecutors say is drug dependency. Smith was arrested at an Aug. 4 showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" at Crocker Park. His attorney says Smith had the weapons for protection in case someone tried to copy the Colorado theater shooting that left 12 dead three weeks earlier.

    Accused Chardon shooter to undergo evaluation
    The suspect in the shooting deaths of three students at Chardon High School last year will undergo psychiatric testing to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial. A Geauga County judge on Monday ordered the evaluation for 18-year old T.J. Lane. Last year, a judge ruled Lane competent to stand trial in juvenile court, but the case was later moved to Common Pleas Court. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and his trial has been delayed.   

    Akron approves more student housing
    Akron City Council has approved another student housing development, but not without raising some concerns.  Council approved the $20 million development last night for University of Akron students, adding to three other private housing projects either being built or in the works. The Beacon Journal reports some council members are wondering just how much student housing the university needs.  The newest development includes plans for apartments, a parking deck and a covered walkway near the campus.

    Cleveland closer to requiring hands free devices for cell phones
    Cleveland is one step closer to prohibiting drivers from talking on cellphones without using hand-free devices. A bill goes to another committee later this month and would make it illegal for drivers to talk with a cellphone to their ear. The law would allow drivers to be stopped by police for no other reason than talking on the phone. The minimum fine would be $100. Officials cited the high number of crashes in the region as the result of distracted driving. Ohio passed a ban on texting while driving, but it's a secondary offense for adults. 

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