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Thousands of Ohioans without paychecks during government shutdown
Other morning headlines: Questions raised about tax deductions for kidnap victim donations; Cleveland public safety committee to discuss prostitution penalties

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Thousands of Ohioans without paychecks during government shutdown
  • Crime lab processing hundreds of rape kids
  • Rally opposes laws limiting access to abortions, women's health care
  • Questions raised about tax deductions for kidnap victim donations
  • Jury selected in multistate fraud case
  • Cleveland public safety committee to discuss prostitution penalties
  • Legal challenges expected for new lethal injection drug
  • Sewer district fee not enforceable 
  • Former JC Penney's Outlet to close
  • Opportunity Corridor meeting draws hundreds
  • Cleveland talent agency expected to sell for $2 billion
  • Towpath Marathon in jeopardy after shutdown
  • Thousands of Ohioans without paychecks during government shutdown
    Thousands of employees across Ohio are suddenly facing life without paychecks.

    At least 10,000 employees of either the Ohio National Guard or the state's largest military installation were idled Tuesday by the partial federal government shutdown, with more cutbacks in federal agency and related offices.

    Nearly 9,000 civilian employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton were put on unpaid leave, for what the base estimates as a loss of $5 million a day in salaries. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force closed Tuesday, as did the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

    Crime lab processing hundreds of rape kids
    Attorney General Mike DeWine says Ohio's crime lab has processed more than 1,500 untested rape kits from police and found hundreds of matches in testing those kits for DNA.

    DeWine says the roughly 1,500 kits processed by Bureau of Criminal Investigation scientists in the past 12 months surpassed the goal in the first year of a program to speed up testing.

    The tests produced 505 matches with a criminal database, the results of which were referred to local police agencies who submitted the kits.

    Rally opposes laws limiting access to abortions, women's health care
    A Statehouse rally opposing Ohio laws that limit access to abortions and other women's health care is drawing participants from around the state and country.

    Members of more than 50 women's groups, labor unions and others are expected at today’s event. The "We Won't Go Back" rally takes issue with funding cuts to Planned Parenthood as well as abortion-related restrictions placed on Ohio's publicly funded hospitals and on counselors at taxpayer-funded rape crisis centers.

    Questions raised about tax deductions for kidnap victim donations
    The fund set up to receive donations to assist the three women who were kidnapped and raped in a Cleveland house over a decade has taken in more than $1.4 million, but confusion exists on whether the donations are tax deductible.

    The Plain Dealer reports only some of the contributions to the Cleveland Courage Fund can be reported for tax purposes. The Cleveland Foundation and KeyBank set up accounts benefiting Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, days after their rescue. The newspaper reports while donations given to the fund through the foundation are tax-deductible because the organization is a nonprofit, those made to KeyBank are not.

    KeyBank has now become the sole collector as the foundation stopped receiving donations for the fund on June 30.

    Jury selected in multistate fraud case
    A jury has been selected in the Cleveland trial of a onetime fugitive charged in a $100 million multistate fraud under the guise of helping Navy veterans.

    The Plain Dealer reports 10 women and two men were chosen Tuesday, along with four alternates. They're expected to hear opening statements and witness testimony starting Monday. The 67-year-old defendant calls himself Bobby Thompson, but authorities identify him as lawyer and former military intelligence officer John Cody. He's charged with defrauding donors to a reputed charity, the United States Navy Veterans Association based in Tampa, Florida.

    He could face 40 years in prison if convicted. The judge said he'd consider a much shorter sentence if the defendant pleaded guilty, but that offer wasn't immediately accepted and the trial moved forward.

    Cleveland public safety committee to discuss prostitution penalties
    There could be a battle at the meeting of Cleveland City Council’s public safety committee tonight.

    Debate is expected about Councilman Eugene Miller’s plan to strengthen penalties for prostitution. The Plain Dealer reports that Miller’s ordinance would add $200 to the fine for pimping, soliciting, and prostitution—bringing it up to $450. Pimping and soliciting would be punishable by 30 days in jail on a first offense. Prostitution would start at 5 days in jail. Right now, first-time offenders for all three crimes are fined. Three days in jail are added for each case after that.

    The ordinance goes against a trend in major cities, however. Many municipalities are now treating people charged with prostitution more as victims than criminals.

    Legal challenges expected for new lethal injection drug
    Ohio's imminent announcement of a new lethal injection drug is likely to be followed quickly by legal challenges.

    When the state switched to pentobarbital a little over two years ago, a federal court filing opposing it arrived within a couple of weeks. Columbus federal judge Gregory Frost oversees lawsuits against Ohio's execution process and says the pattern of challenges and counter challenges is common each time the state changes its method.

    The state's supply of the pentobarbital expired last month. Ohio prison officials have said they expect to announce the new drug by Friday. They've hinted they're considering a compounded version of the drug, involving individual batches mixed by a pharmacist. A lawsuit in Georgia is challenging that state's switch to the same process.

    Sewer district fee not enforceable 
    Residents  in the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District won’t have to pay a fee for storm water runoff, at least for now.

    The Plain Dealer reports the sewer district is not allowed to charge water customers in Cleveland and 61 surrounding suburbs  a storm-water fee that ranged from $9 to more than $27. 

    Last week, Ohio’s 8th District Court of Appeals ruled that storm water does not fall under the definition of wastewater. Most customers should not see the quarterly fee on their next bills, and they don’t have to pay it if it does show up.

    The district plans to file an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court or go to the legislature and ask for the definition of wastewater to include storm runoff. The fee amounts to about $35 million a year that is used to control runoff and perform emergency work.

    Former JC Penney's Outlet to close
    The last retail store at the former Rolling Acres Mall in Akron is shutting its doors.

    The Beacon Journal reports that JC’s 5 Star Outlet, Formerly known as the JCPenney outlet, began its going out of business sale on Tuesday.

    All of the company’s 15 outlet stores are closing because of low sales. No closing date has been set, but all stores will close at the same time. It will depend on how quickly the remaining inventory is sold.

    The main part of the mall shut down in 2008. Foreclosure proceedings have begun against the current owner of the mall, after not paying taxes since it was purchased in 2010.

    Opportunity Corridor meeting draws hundreds
    Several hundred people turned out Tuesday night to learn more about a project for a six-lane boulevard linking I-490 with Cleveland’s growing University Circle area.

    The Opportunity Corridor will cost more than $300 million for 3.5 miles of roadway through residential and commercial neighborhoods. It would allow for easier access to places like the Cleveland Clinic and area attractions. It got a boost last month when it received funding from Ohio’s new Turnpike-based financing program.

    The Plain Dealer reports some people at the meeting questioned building a costly road in a city with a population that is shrinking, not growing. ODOT hopes to get a record of decision from the federal government by January to proceed with the project.

    Cleveland talent agency expected to sell for $2 billion
    A talent agency founded in Cleveland is going up for auction and could sell for two billion dollars, according to the Plain Dealer.

    IMG Worldwide was started by Cleveland attorney Mark McCormack more than 50 years ago. It rose to fame marketing sports celebrities like Arnold Palmer and expanded to entertainment, fashion and event production.

    The company was sold and moved to New York City in 2010, although 95 people are still based out of its Cleveland office. A buyout firm in New York started accepting bids for the company on Monday.

    Towpath Marathon in jeopardy after shutdown
    More than 1,000 people who have signed up for a marathon in northeast Ohio could be sidelined. The fate of the Towpath Marathon is in jeopardy because of the partial government shutdown. It’s scheduled for October 13th in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Now, the Akron Beacon Journal reports it could be postponed or even canceled.

    The race has been run every year since 1992. In addition to the 1,200 runners, about 3,500 people show up every year to watch.

    The park shut down yesterday when Congress failed to reach an agreement on the federal budget. 109 employees were furloughed and the park was closed. Law enforcement rangers, dispatchers and three staffers are the only ones who remain on the job. 

    A decision on whether to postpone or cancel the marathon will likely come Monday.

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