No deal reached to avoid eighth week of Strongsville teachers strike
Striking teachers in Strongsville met with the school board and a federal mediator for a nine hour bargaining session on Sunday that produced no results. Teachers are back at the picket lines today for the eighth week. There are 32 school days left in the year, and the school says it will finish out the year with substitute teachers if it must. The strike includes issues such as pay freezes, medical benefits and pension payments. The district originally maintained it was facing a $6 million budget, but last week made the counteroffer after discovering $3.2 million in delinquent taxes and other revenues. Parents were told Friday that fourth quarter grading will be adjusted for second through sixth graders, and high school students, due to the strike.
300 attend vigil to remember Kimlyn Circle murder victims
About 300 people turned out to a vigil in Akron Sunday night for four people found murdered in a townhouse near Chapel Hill Mall. Akron police have no suspects in the murders that occurred last week at Kimlyn Circle. Those killed execution style include 24-year old Ronald Roberts, his girlfriend, 19-year old Kiana Welch, along with 23-year old Kem Rashad Delaney and 19-year old Maria Nash. The vigil drew representatives from the Stop the Violence Akron Movement, which urged the crowd to push for a gun buy-back program.
Cleveland school board member wants increased downtown presence for district
A Cleveland school board member wants the district to increase its downtown presence when it sells its center-city office headquarters. Board member Eric Wobser wants to use the $4.5 million sale price of the district headquarters to create a new school downtown or expand one or both schools already there. The headquarters building, near the new convention center and medical technology showcase exhibit hall, will be sold to a hotel chain. The school board is scheduled to consider the proposal Tuesday night. The board’s president tells the Plain Dealer members are expected to back it.
State officials warn of cuts due to Medicaid expansion denial
Ohio officials say a move to turn down the governor's Medicaid expansion plan will cost mental illness and substance abuse programs millions. They say it adds up to the loss of $700 million for medical care and treatment programs over the next two years. Republicans in the Ohio House have removed Medicaid expansion from the upcoming state budget. They did agree to continue discussing health coverage for the poor and add $100 million over the next two years for mental health and substance abuse. But those in Gov. John Kasich's administration say that's not enough to meet the needs of those with mental health problems and addictions. What happens next with Medicaid is up to the state Senate.
Report: $7.7 billion in state tax breaks next year
The state government budget debate in Ohio has focused fresh attention on tax breaks and loopholes granted to residents and businesses over the years. The Columbus Dispatch says some 130 tax deductions, credits and exemptions will be worth $7.7 billion next year. Projections put it at about $8 billion for 2015. Some tax breaks have been in place for decades and could be scrutinized as lawmakers consider income tax cuts proposed by Gov. John Kasich. The newspaper reports that closing tax exemptions could be difficult, given the efforts made to enact and keep them.
Trash collectors back at work after sympathy strike
Trash collectors throughout Northeast Ohio are expected to return to work today. Hundreds of Northeast Ohio workers took part in a sympathy strike last week to support teamsters who work for Republic Services in Youngstown. The Youngstown workers have been on strike for three weeks in response to Republic announcing it was changing their benefit plans.
Public hearings wrapping up on Cuyahoga County government changes
The new county government in Cleveland is getting a fresh look. A commission will wrap up public hearings tonight in Brecksville on proposed changes to the Cuyahoga County government approved by voters in 2009. Proposed changes include whether to keep the sheriff's job appointed. Under the old three-commissioner county government, the sheriff was elected. The new executive and council government was approved by voters amid a lengthy federal corruption investigation. The review commission must submit a report by July 1 on charter changes to be placed before voters.
Aurora man due in federal court after allegedly defrauding contractors
A Northeast Ohio man is due in federal court Tuesday on charges of defrauding contractors involved in FBI building projects in Indianapolis and Knoxville, Tenn. Judge Sara Lioi in Akron has scheduled the hearing for 51-year-old Robert Berryhill of Aurora, who faces charges including mail and wire fraud and posing as an FBI employee. He allegedly pocketed more than $225,000 defrauded from a Westlake contractor, creating phony businesses and invoices to divert construction funds to personal use. The docket calls it an arraignment and guilty plea hearing. He was charged in a court filing that usually signals a pending plea deal.
Three people found dead in possible Lorain murder-suicide
Three people were found dead in a northeastern Ohio home in what may have been a murder-suicide. Police said they found the bodies in the Lorain home Sunday afternoon. The victims are believed to be an estranged husband and wife and an unrelated man. First, 29-year-old Halyna Whitney was found by her father after he didn't hear from her as expected. The two men were found dead in the home by police later in the afternoon. One of the men was identified as William Everett Jr. The name of the other man hasn't been released.
Coast Guard upgrading facilities
The U.S. Coast Guard will be getting a new $11.3 million complex to replace its current station and boathouse along Lake Erie in northeast Ohio. The existing 100-year-old building in Fairport Harbor is to be demolished over the coming months, and the new complex expected to be in place by Sept. 14. Dispatchers and officers will be moved to temporary trailers by May 17 so demolition work can start. But the Coast Guard says officers and dispatchers will not cut back services.
Wildlife officials working to restock Lake Erie trout
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun a six-week mission to restock trout in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The agency says 200,000 trout yearlings will be released into the lakes through late May. The restocking began last week in Lake Erie off Sandusky and Fairport Harbor then headed to stops off Erie, Pa., and Dunkirk, N.Y. The yearlings are the first raised in the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery in Warren, Pa., since an incurable fish virus was detected there in 2005. The hatchery was decontaminated and received trout brood stock and eggs from other hatcheries.