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Accused would-be bridge bomber fires defense lawyers ahead of his June trial
Other morning news headlines: Cleveland school board approves deal with teachers; Kasich to give commencement address in Chardon

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Accused would-be bridge bomber fires defense lawyers ahead of June trial
  • Cleveland school board approves deal with teachers
  • Kasich to give commencement address in Chardon
  • Cleveland RTA joins effort to combat human trafficking
  • 13,000 Wright-Patterson civilian employees to take fewer furlough days
  • Cleveland’s Seymour Avenue reopens
  • Accused would-be bridge bomber fires defense lawyers ahead of June trial
    The last of the five men accused in a failed plot to bomb the Route 82 Bridge in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park last year wants to act as his own attorney at his trial next month. Twenty-three-year-old Joshua Stafford on Tuesday rejected an unspecified plea bargain in U.S. District Court and then fired his appointed defense lawyers. The judge then ordered the appointed lawyer to serve as "advisory counsel" for Stafford’s Jun 10th trial.  No bomb went off and no one was hurt in the plot last year. Four other defendants have pleaded guilty and got prison terms of six to 11 years. 

    Cleveland school board approves deal with teachers
    The Cleveland school board has unanimously approved a tentative three-year contract with the teacher’s union that could be a model for the state. Under the deal, teacher raises and layoffs would be determined by merit rather than seniority. Teachers would also add 40 minutes to their work day and pay more into their healthcare. But, in exchange, the union would get base raises, including 4 percent the first year along with cash bonuses. Teachers still have to approve the deal. The district’s transformation plan cleared the Ohio legislature last year. The school board also approved a 10-year, roughly $15 million lease to move administrative offices to the former Eaton Corporation headquarters on Superior Avenue. The board last month sold its old headquarters on East Sixth Street to the Drury hotel chain for about $4.5 million.

    Kasich to give commencement address in Chardon
    Gov. John Kasich plans to deliver the commencement address at Chardon High School,  where three students were killed and three others injured in a 2012 shooting spree. A spokesman said Tuesday the speech will be June 1. Kasich honored Chardon's faculty and staff with a Governor's Courage Award earlier this year for displaying strength and perseverance after the Feb. 27, 2012, shooting. The award came about a year after teenager T.J. Lane fired 10 shots into a group of students seated in the school cafeteria. Lane pleaded guilty in the shooting and was sentenced in March to three life sentences for the killings. He has appealed.

    Cleveland’s public transit agency joins effort to combat human trafficking
    Cleveland’s public transit agency is joining an effort to combat human trafficking. The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority board voted Tuesday to sign a pledge supported by Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking, an international campaign. RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese tells the Plain Dealer the pledge means the agency will raise awareness of the problem, train workers on how to spot it and sharing data. The Plain Dealer reports RTA police already trained at spotting suspicions of human trafficking and that bus and train drivers will receive training soon. 

    13,000 Wright-Patterson civilian employees to take fewer furlough days
    About 13,000 civilian employees at Ohio's largest military installation will be forced to take 11 days of unpaid leave beginning in July. Col. Cassie Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, says the development is "good news" because the Department of Defense's 800,000 civilian employees had originally faced 22 days of furlough. Each of the civilian employees will be on one day of furlough per week beginning July 8 until they reach 11 total days. The unpaid leave is the result of automatic defense budget cuts.

    Cleveland’s Seymour Avenue reopens
    Cleveland’s Seymour Avenue has reopened after investigators spent more than a week gathering evidence from the home of Ariel Castro, accused of abducting three women and holding them captive for a decade. The street on the city’s west side had been closed for eight days as throngs of reporters, photographers and onlookers wanted to get a glimpse. Castro’s home remains fenced off.  
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