Internet sweepstakes ballot push falling short
It looks like the push to let voters decide the fate of Internet sweepstakes cafes in Ohio does not have enough signatures to make it happen. The Columbus Dispatch did a spot check on petition signatures submitted to boards of elections in Ohio's largest counties and found that only about 40 percent look valid. Without enough valid signatures, the bill lawmakers approved will go into effect immediately, eliminating cash payouts at internet cafes and limiting prizes to just $10. Opponents of the law will have 10 days to gather enough signatures after the final count is tabulated. That number could be as high as 90,000.
Browns trade Trent Richardson
The Cleveland Browns have traded running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts in a surprise move less than two years after drafting him in the first round. The Browns (0-2), struggling on offense under new coach Rob Chudzinski, announced the move Wednesday afternoon. They will also bring in veteran running back Willis McGahee for a physical. Cleveland receives a first-round pick in next year's draft for Richardson, who has struggled with injuries since a standout career at Alabama. He was the No. 3 overall pick in 2012.
Kasich rejects clemency for death row killer
Governor John Kasich has rejected clemency for a death row killer of two men, including a suburban Cleveland police officer who had rushed to the scene of the shooting. Kasich's decision Wednesday means 61-year old Harry Mitts will most likely be put to death next week for killing the pair at his Garfield Heights apartment in 1994. Mitts will be last inmate to be executed in Ohio with using the drug pentobarbital. Supplies run out this month, requiring a new method for future executions.
Libertarian gubernatorial hopeful announces candidacy
A former Republican state representative from northwest Ohio says he will run for governor next year as a libertarian. Charlie Earl plans to launch his 2014 bid against Governor John Kasich today in Tiffin. The 67-year-old Earl served in the Ohio House in the early 1980’s. He ran unsuccessfully for Secretary of State in 2010. His candidacy follows a tea party effort this spring to defeat Kasich's pick to lead the Ohio Republican Party.
Hearing for southwest Ohio lawmaker charged with fraud, theft
A southwest Ohio lawmaker charged with fraud and theft for allegedly misleading investors about a company's financial status and using their money for personal gain will have a court hearing. Thursday's hearing is to schedule Republican State Representative Pete Beck's trial or give him the opportunity to enter another plea. The Republican legislator from Mason pleaded not guilty in July. Investors sued Beck in January. They accused him and others of misleading them about two companies' financial status and misusing $1.2 million. Beck faces more than 100 years in prison if convicted.
Cleveland officials make largest heroin bust in northern Ohio history
Cleveland officials have busted a wide-ranging heroin ring that the US Attorney’s office calls the single largest heroin take-down in the history of northern Ohio. Nearly 100 people have been charged in the federal indictment that says traffickers financed some operations by robbing drug dealers and users who had showy cars and jewelry. According to the indictment, dealers conducted counter-surveillance of law enforcement officers and posted sentries to look out for police.
Summa confirms layoffs
Summit County’s largest employer, Summa Health System, has confirmed that its laid off 58 workers this week, and will cut back hours for an additional 46 staff members. Crain’s Cleveland Business reports the cuts are part of $8 million in cost savings that includes leaving more than 130 open positions unfilled. Summa employs about 11,000 people.
911 operators out of a job in Stark
More than a dozen 911 operators in Stark County will be losing their jobs within the next four months. According to the Canton Repository, commissioners will have the Stark County Sheriff’s office handle 911 calls starting in January. A one-year-contract with the Sheriff will be just over $350,000. That’s expected to save the county more than $340,000. But commissioners say the move is more about safety than money. 40 percent of all 911 calls are already transferred from the 911 operator to a sheriff’s dispatcher. Eliminating that transfer will save time in getting help where it’s needed.
Exports up in Youngstown metro area
Youngstown is on the rise, ranking as the top city in the nation when it comes to export growth. The Brookings Institution reports that the Youngstown- Warren- Boardman region led the country in export growth over the past three years. The value of those products is up 22% over that time period, to $4.7 billion. About a quarter of the goods and services produced are being sent to the rest of the world. Metal products made up a third of the exports. Motor vehicles accounted for 14%.
Ohio gas price drop 3rd in nation
Union representing prison guards says suicide probe too narrow
Gas prices are down in a big way. In fact, Ohio has seen the third largest drop in average gas price over the last year, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The state average for regular unleaded was $3.35 yesterday. That’s down $0.46 from a year ago. Experts say Ohio’s unusually large drop in prices is because refineries that serve the Great Lakes region have been increasing capacity. They also don’t anticipate a return to 4 dollar a gallon gas anytime soon, because of increased domestic production.
The union representing Ohio prison guards says the scope of a state-commissioned review on inmate suicides is too narrow and doesn't address the broader issues affecting the state's prison system. The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association on Wednesday said the review shouldn't be about suicides. Instead, the group says, there is a need for a broader discussion about policies and procedures including violence, overcrowding, staffing and staff training. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction on Tuesday announced a review of inmate suicides going back two years. It will start with the suicides of high-profile inmates Ariel Castro, the Cleveland kidnapper and rapist who had just begun a life sentence when he hanged himself September 3rd, and Billy Slagle, who killed himself August 4th, three days before his scheduled execution.
Ohio panel to make decision on Medicaid proposal
An Ohio panel is expected to decide today whether a proposal to expand Medicaid contains one or multiple issues. The state Ballot Board's decision is the latest step for backers of extending the federal-state health program for the poor and disabled. Their campaign could put the issue before voters next year. Once the proposal clears the board, the group Healthy Ohioans Work can start gathering the roughly 116,000 signatures needed in their campaign. The General Assembly would then have four months to act on the proposed law. If legislators pass, amend or take no action, then a supplemental petition may be circulated to get the issue before Ohio voters in November 2014. Supporters say they would rather have the Legislature pass Medicaid expansion than to put the issue before voters.