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Confirmed: Storms spawned five tornados in western Ohio
Other headlines: New Cleveland Convention Center opens today; Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice opposes death penalty; Final bridge bomb plotter found guilty
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
  • Confirmed: Storms spawned five tornados in western Ohio
  • New Cleveland Convention Center opens today
  • Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice opposes death penalty
  • Final bridge bomb plotter found guilty
  • Fitch gives Ohio Turnpike bonds ‘strong’ rating 
  • Steubenville teens convicted of rape to be labeled sex offenders
  • Imperial Ave. lot could become a memorial park to Sowell victims
  • Medicaid bill provides few details on proposed reforms
  • Healthcare workers for the poor must call-in
  • West Shoreway to reopen on Saturday
  • Confirmed: Storms spawned five tornados in western Ohio
    The National Weather Service says at least five tornadoes touched down in northwest Ohio during the violent midweek storms.

    Forecasters are confirming three tornadoes touched down in Henry County, one in Wood County, and one in Van Wert County during the storms Wednesday night. No injuries were reported.

    The strongest was a factor-1 tornado, in Henry County. It had wind gusts of 95 mph. 

    New Cleveland Convention Center opens today
    The new Cleveland Convention Center officially opens today.  It’s part of the $465 million Medical Mart complex that covers 10 acres of downtown Cleveland. 

    A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 2 o’clock this afternoon, a public open-house is scheduled for tomorrow with tours of the Med Mart and Convention Center. 

    The Convention Center includes a 225-thousand square foot exhibit hall.  The adjacent, four-story Medical Mart, known as the Global Center for Health Innovation, will open in October. 

    The inaugural event at the Convention Center is the July 19th National Senior Games.

    Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice opposes death penalty
    A state Supreme Court task force analyzing the effectiveness of Ohio's capital punishment law heard from a former justice in its first day of hearings.

    Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton told the task force Thursday that she now opposes capital punishment. 

    Stratton, a Republican who left office late last year, told the committee she changed her views because she doesn’t see the death penalty as a deterrent. 

    Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor says the task force is examining everything from racial bias in death penalty cases to ways to improve the legal representation of capital defendants. But O’Connor says the committee won't debate whether the state should have the death penalty. 

    Final bridge bomb plotter found guilty
    The last of five suspects in a failed Ohio plot to bomb a highway bridge has been found guilty on all counts. 

    Joshua Stafford of Cleveland had acted as his own attorney at a three-day trial in federal court in Akron.

    A jury convicted the 24-year-old Stafford Thursday of two counts of using weapons of mass destruction and one count of explosive materials.

    Stafford, posing questions to himself, testified earlier in the day that he was unaware friends from the anti-corporate Occupy Cleveland movement planned to blow up the Rt. 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga River.

    The government says the bomb was a dud provided by an FBI informant. The other defendants have pleaded guilty and landed prison terms of six to 11 years.

    Fitch gives Ohio Turnpike bonds ‘strong’ rating
    An international credit ratings agency says Ohio Turnpike bonds are one of the safest investments among toll roads in the country

    The Plain Dealer reports that the Fitch Ratings service gives the turnpike bonds a ‘AA’ rating.

    Gov. John Kasich has authorized the turnpike commission to issue at least $200 million in bonds to pay for projects elsewhere in northern Ohio.

    Kasich's plan calls for the turnpike to issue up to $1.5 billion in bonds over five to six years, which he said could leverage an equal amount of money from local and federal sources. 

    Steubenville teens convicted of rape to be labeled sex offenders
    A judge is ready to classify two Ohio high school football players convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl last year as sex offenders.

    The hearing today in Steubenville is a possible first step for the two teen defendants to be transferred from a state juvenile detention center to a facility that works with sex offenders.

    Trent Mays and Ma'Lik Richmond were sentenced in March to time in the juvenile detention system after being convicted of raping a West Virginia girl following an alcohol fueled party.

    The boys will likely be sent to Lighthouse Youth Center in southern Ohio.

    The state Youth Services department says extensive evaluations would precede any transfer. 

    Imperial Ave. lot could become a memorial park to Sowell victims
    A children's play area is among three proposed designs for a memorial at the site where remains of 11 women were found and the convicted serial killer's home was later demolished.

    A coalition of pastors and community leaders in Cleveland shared potential designs with some victims' relatives at a meeting Thursday.

    Some liked the playground idea, but the plan to build a memorial on the site of the former home of Anthony Sowell didn't sit well with everyone.

    Some relatives of victims told the Plain Dealer they don’t feel the Imperial Avenue lot should become a park.

    Sowell received the death penalty, a sentence he is appealing. 

    Medicaid bill provides few details on proposed reforms
    Ohio lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan proposal aimed at curbing Medicaid costs as they try to find common ground on the issue.

    The measure introduced Thursday in the House and Senate offers broad ideas with few details.

    The proposal instructs the state's Medicaid director to limit the growth of the program's costs.

    It also creates a Medicaid oversight committee.

    The Medicaid program provides health coverage for one of every five residents in Ohio. 

    Healthcare workers for the poor must call-in
    Ohio's auditor says the state can cut down on Medicaid fraud by verifying that home health care workers are where they say they are.

    Auditor Dave Yost's office released the recommendation Thursday after a performance audit of the state Department of Job and Family Services.

    The report says telephone monitoring of home service providers can save the state almost $20 million annually by reducing fraudulent Medicaid billings.

    Workers could be required to call from a client's home phone, or use a cell phone with GPS tracking to mark their locations.

    Yost's office says such monitoring has helped to deter double billing or billing for services never provided. 

    Prosecutors call for leniency for cop convicted of soliciting sex with minors
    A judge has rescheduled sentencing for a former Ohio police officer convicted of coercing sexual behavior from minors.

    Todd Smith of Columbus could face up to 17 years after pleading guilty earlier this year to one count of using a cellphone to entice two underage minors to engage in sexual activity.

    Federal prosecutors have asked the court to take Smith's ongoing cooperation with an FBI investigation into consideration.

    Smith's attorney says Smith is a one-time offender whose long history as a law-abiding police officer also should be considered. 

    Cincinnati’s high infant mortality rate investigated
    Five hospitals and city and county leaders in Cincinnati are joining together to reduce the region's high rate of infant deaths.

    Officials say the rate remains unusually high despite a decade of spending millions of dollars in what officials say were at times disjointed efforts to reduce infant deaths in the greater Cincinnati area.

    Cincinnati's rate of 9.2 deaths per 1,000 births is well above the national rate of 6 deaths per 1,000 births.

    The group will concentrate first on why the region's infant-mortality rate is so high and then focus efforts on reducing it significantly within the next five years. 

    West Shoreway to reopen on Saturday
    After two weeks of headaches for Cleveland commuters the West Shoreway reopens tomorrow morning.

    Rt. 2 has been closed for the past two weeks as crews filmed the “Captain America” sequel with Cleveland as the backdrop.

    The highway was used for car chases and a huge crash scene.

    Today the Lorain Road Bridge over the Rocky River will be closed for filming.

    The film will wrap up by June 26. 

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