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U.S. Census: Little growth in Ohio population, especially in Northeast
Other noon headlines: Capital punishment task force, bridge-bombing suspect, education funding in Ohio

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:
  • Ohio's population remains stagnant
  • Capital punishment task force back at work
  • Bridge bomber suspect says he didn't know what his friends planned
  • Push for more for Ohio's rural, urban districts
  • Ohio's population remains stagnant
    The latest Census report shows Ohio is one a handful of states with virtually no population growth from 2011 to 2012, and the eastern part of the state along the Ohio River actually had a population loss. Overall, the state has about 11.54 million people.

    In Northeast Ohio, five of 22 counties did see growth: Wayne, Stark, Medina, Geauga and Holmes.

    Capital punishment task force back at work
    An Ohio Supreme Court task force analyzing the effectiveness of Ohio's capital punishment law plans is reconvening today, and hopes to wrap up its work this year.

    The committee is examining a range of issues, including racial bias and improving legal representation of defendants in death penalty cases. According to the Associated Press, Chairman James Brogan expects two reports from the committee, one presenting majority views and the other the views of the minority. Off the table for the committee is consideration of whether Ohio should have a death penalty at all.

    Bridge bomber suspect says he didn't know what his friends planned
    The last of the five defendants in a plot to blow up the Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park testified in his own defense in federal court in Akron today. Joshua Stafford told jurors he thought the worst the group was going to do was spray-paint graffiti on the bridge and said he didn’t know his friends planned to blow it up. The explosives were duds, supplied by an FBI informant.

    The 24-year-old Stafford is also acting as his own lawyer. The other four defendants all pleaded guilty in the case, though their lawyers insisted the informant they met at an Occupy Cleveland event engineered the plot.

    Push for more for Ohio's rural, urban districts
    School advocates are pushing Ohio lawmakers to boost help for low-income districts through the proposed two-year state budget.

    The state Senate has proposed increasing school funding by $717 million, after drastic cuts in the last biennial budget. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the education groups say the problem with the Senate plan is there’s not enough designated for urban and poor rural districts. The House version of the budget includes nearly $300 million more for such districts than the Senate does.

    The budget is now in a conference committee to come up with a joint budget that would then go to Gov. John Kasich. 

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