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Ohio lawmakers to consider bill to aid Castro victims
Other morning headlines: City income tax hike; Struthers snakes; adoption reform

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:

Priest to appear in court Tuesday on sex charges
Lawmakers will consider bill to aid Castro victims
Alliance is seeking income tax increase
Cleveland rescue organization is helping Struthers snakes
Adoption reform legislation could cut costs

Lawmakers to consider bill to aid Castro victims
Ohio lawmakers are expected to consider a bill this week that would offer cash reparations and other benefits to three women imprisoned for more than a decade by Ariel Castro in his Cleveland home.

Castro pleaded guilty to kidnapping the women, then repeatedly raping and beating them. He was found hanged in prison last month.

The Plain Dealer reports that the House bill would provide the women with annual checks of $25,000 for each year they were held. The state also would seek a waiver to grant them lifetime Medicaid coverage and pay tuition and living expenses at a state university or college.

A House committee could vote on the bill Wednesday. A spokesman for the women declined to comment on the proposed legislation.

Priest to appear in court Tuesday

A priest is scheduled for a court appearance in Cleveland, accused of soliciting sex in a public park.

The Rev. James McGonegal was arrested Friday after allegedly soliciting a park ranger who was in plainclothes at Edgewater Park. Police reports say McGonegal told authorities he has tested positive for HIV. He was to appear before a judge in Cleveland Municipal Court this morning.

Cleveland Catholic Diocese records show the 68-year-old McGonegal has been a priest since 1971. The Diocese has said it has a policy of cooperating with civil authorities in such matters.

Alliance seeking income tax increase
The city of Alliance wants voters to approve a half-percent income tax increase in November as a last ditch attempt to fix a nearly $2 million budget cap.

The Canton Repository reports that it would be the second increase in six years, and would bring the tax rate to 2.5 percent.

The city blames rising costs and a decrease in revenue for its budget issues. The elimination of estate taxes, a large cut in state funding and a decrease in property tax collection are all part of the problem. 

This year, that means a $1 million decrease in revenue. 

If approved, the income tax would generate $2 million in additional revenue every year for the city's general fund. If it is not approved, the city says cuts will likely be made with guidance from the state auditor's office.

Cleveland rescue organization helping Struthers snakes
A reptile rescue organization in suburban Cleveland is caring for nearly 100 snakes and lizards seized from a northeast Ohio home and has sent several more to a Kentucky zoo.

Keith Gisser of the Herps Alive! Foundation tells The Vindicator in Youngstown some of the creatures seized last week in Struthers are being treated for mites. Four poisonous snakes are being kept at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo in Slade, Ky.

Investigators went to the home after a man showed up at a hospital with a rattlesnake bite but left without getting proper treatment.

That man and a woman are suspected of selling the snakes online. They were arrested on charges that include violating Ohio's exotic animal law and child endangering. Investigators say a 12-year-old boy lived at the home.

Adoption reform legislation could cut costs
Comprehensive reform for adoption procedures could be coming to Ohio, making is easier and cheaper for families to adopt.

One News Now reports that a bi-partisan bill would provide a $10,000 tax credit to help with the cost of adoption and ensure money given to the birth mother is used for prenatal and birth expenses. It would also make it more difficult for birth parents to take back a child from its adoptive parents after the legal process has been finalized.

In Ohio, adoption costs between $20,000 and $40,000. 

Ohio Right to Life is backing the bill, and says domestic adoptions are often more difficult than foreign adoptions because of red tape and bureaucracy.


Listener Comments:

Are you serious about this Bill to aid the Castro Victims?! That is utter nonsense. A Bill! Are you serious?! Just giving money away, without stipulations at that I am betting. This is utter nonsense. If people want to donate that is fine, but how dare you make a Bill about this.

It is also a cheap shot to Ohio as far as I am concerned. Our school systems are in poor shape but at least we helped these 3 girls. At least our lawmakers can put that on their resumes. Great Job asses.

This is disgusting. Please enlighten me in where these girls would be had this not happened? Im betting they would not be getting the money we are offering. Fix the schools Ohio! Bring some jobs Ohio!

I am completely disgusted about this Bill.

Posted by: Bryan (Cleveland) on October 26, 2013 5:10AM
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