Westlake battling Cleveland Public Utilities over water contract
The mayor of a Cleveland suburb who terminated his contract with the city’s water department now says ‘never mind.’
Back in May, Mayor Dennis Clough sent a letter saying the city of Westlake would not continue purchasing water from Cleveland after a 25 year contract was up.
The Plain Dealer reports that this week, Clough sent a letter retracting the previous one.
But Cleveland Public Utilities Director Paul Bender says Clough’s retraction cannot be taken seriously because the mayor doesn’t have the power to authorize water purchases without council approval.
As WKSU reported in January, Westlake has considered purchasing water wholesale from the Avon Lake Water System in Lorain county, but has hesitated because of a nearly $300 per-resident fee that Cleveland’s water department would pass on to Westlake customers for the separation.
Murder suspect to be arraigned Thursday
A sex offender suspected of killing three women will be arraigned in Cleveland Thursday on updated charges that include aggravated murder and could lead to a death sentence if he's convicted.
Michael Madison's arraignment comes two days after county Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced he's seeking the death penalty in the case.
The 36-year-old Madison had pleaded not guilty. His attorney lobbied against making it a death-penalty case but said he wasn't surprised by the decision. Madison is accused of killing three women and leaving the bodies in trash bags in a run-down East Cleveland neighborhood. They were found in July after police were called about an odor coming from a garage.
Third Federal sees profit increase
Cleveland-based bank Third Federal is seeing a huge boost in profits as mortgage losses decline.
The Plain Dealer reports that Third Federal’s third quarter profits jumped from just $1 million during the third quarter of 2012 to nearly $16 million this quarter.
The bank credits fewer loan losses for the profit increase, down from $36 million last year to only $8 million this most recent quarter.
For the financial year as a whole, Third-Federal profits are up nearly 500 percent to $56 million.
Feral hogs killed on highway can be kept by drivers
Ohio drivers who kill feral hogs on the highway could keep them under a bill passed by the state House.
The measure also would let drivers take home any wild turkeys or wild boars that become road kill. The bill cleared on a 94-1 vote Wednesday, sending it to the Senate.
Motorists that want the dead animals would have to report the accident to a wildlife or law enforcement officer within 24 hours. The officers would be required to investigate and give the drivers certificates for legal ownership.
The bill would let another person, institution or charity take any unclaimed wild turkeys.
The measure also adds feral hogs to Ohio's game list, which is regulated by the state's wildlife chief, who sets rules for hunting seasons.
The 2009 economic stimulus bill temporarily boosted the federal food stamp program for its 48 million recipients nationwide. On Friday, the boosted benefits will expire, resulting in automatic 5.5-percent cuts to monthly distributions.
Nearly 2 million Ohioans will see food stamp decrease
About 1.8 million Ohioans will see their food stamp benefits decreased slightly at midnight Friday, and advocates for the poor say it's going to hurt.
For a mother with two children, the reduction means about $29 less per month. For a family of four, it's a cut of about $36 a month.
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks says she expects the program will end up taking more hits. She said a farm bill in Congress could cut food stamps by up to $40 billion over the next decade.
Acevedo trial delayed because of evidence
Evidence spanning many years will delay the trial of a convicted Ohio sex offender charged with two murders and 173 counts of rape.
Both sides in the Cleveland case against 49-year-old Elias Acevedo said in court Wednesday that they need more time to review the evidence.
Acevedo has pleaded not guilty. The charges against him date to the mid-1990s. The murder charges involve the deaths of a neighbor in 1994 and another woman in 1995.
The prosecutor's office says Acevedo most recently lived about a block away from Ariel Castro, who kidnapped three women and imprisoned them for about a decade.
Man kills hostage, self during standoff
Police say a man shot and killed a hostage and then himself to end a standoff with officers at a Family Dollar store in northern Ohio.
Willard police Chief Mark Holden said 19-year-old Shawn Schuett shot one of the women hostages in the head before turning the gun on himself shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday. The woman died later at a hospital.
Police earlier responded to calls that a man with a rifle had taken over the Family Dollar store and was holding two hostages.
Holden said Schuett, whose motive was unclear, barricaded the front of the store with carts and shelving units. After one hostage managed to escape, officers broke through the front window to find the gunman and hostage shot.
Willard is about 90 miles north of Columbus.
Warren mayor calls for calm
The mayor of a northeast Ohio city is calling for calm after a murder early Saturday morning.
Warren mayor Doug Franklin appeared Wednesday with family members of the victim.
The Tribune Chronicle reports that the suspect in the murder is a brother to a man who was shot and killed by Warren police on October 19th.
That man was allegedly planning a drive-by shooting at a lounge in Warren when he was killed by police.
The mayor says he wants the entire community to step in and help stop the violence.
Ohio opposing death row inmate request to attend hearing
Ohio is opposing a condemned child killer's request to attend a court hearing over the state's plan to use a never-tried lethal drug combination on him next month.
Lawyers for death row inmate Ronald Phillips say he needs to be at Friday's hearing in federal court in Columbus to testify.
Attorneys for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction question the expense and security involved in transporting a death row inmate to a hearing.
Phillips is suing over the state's adoption of a combination method of a sedative and painkiller for his Nov. 14 execution.
The 40-year-old Phillips was sentenced to die for raping and killing 3-year-old Sheila Marie Evans in Akron in 1993.
Death row prisoners typically don't attend such hearings.
Former library employee to pay nearly $370,000 in restitution
A former library employee in Cuyahoga Falls will have to pay back nearly $370,000 she embezzled.
The Beacon Journal reports that Theresa Karm was a former deputy fiscal officer of the Cuyahoga Falls Library.
She pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of felony theft, and was given a suspended prison sentence and six months house arrest if she pays restitution.
Karm began stealing money in 2007—embezzling library fees and fines from overdue books.
Library cash intake dropped from nearly $37,000 in 2005 to a low of just over $11,000 in 2011 with Karm at the helm of the finances.
Karm was the sole employee responsible for collecting cash at the library.
She has already paid her first $10,000 restitution installment.
Kent State Fraternity suspended
A fraternity on the campus of Kent State University has been suspended after allegations of hazing and other violations.
The Beacon Journal reports that the Gamma Tau chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi has been suspended for three years.
The associate dean of students told the chapter a hazing allegation was brought to the university’s attention at the end of August, and after a review of 6 years of the chapter’s files… the decision was made to suspend the chapter.
It has not been made public exactly what the fraternity did as part of the hazing allegations.
Kappa Alpha Psi was the first black organization on the Kent Campus, and was established there in 1949.
The fraternity did not appeal its suspension.
It does not have a house on campus.
Lawmaker charged with fraud expected in court
An Ohio lawmaker charged with fraud and theft is expected in court Thursday for a hearing either to set a trial date or to change his plea to guilty.
Republican state Rep. Pete Beck of Mason has pleaded not guilty to allegations that he misled investors about a company's financial status and used their money for personal gain.
Beck had a similar hearing set for Sept. 19, but his defense attorneys asked for more time to review more than 60,000 pages of information from the prosecution.
Beck was indicted in July on 16 felony counts.
Beck has denied the allegations against him as "scandalous" through his attorneys and brushed away calls that he resign.
If convicted, authorities say Beck could face up to 102 years in prison.
Christmas comes early in Port Clinton
A northern Ohio community has decked the halls to provide an early Christmas for an ailing boy with aggressive brain cancer who said he wanted to be home for the holiday.
The Port Clinton News-Herald reports several tons of shaved ice was used Wednesday to mimic drifting snow outside 13-year-old Devin Kohlman's window.
The city along Lake Erie has been trying to fulfill Devin's wish since he returned home from a hospital Sunday. The city put up a tall Christmas tree within view of the family apartment where the teen is resting.
Hundreds of people gathered to sing Christmas carols. Santa even showed up — on a motorcycle.
Devin's mother says seeing so many supporters outside his home has been very encouraging for him.
Cavs open season with win
The Cavs opened their season with a win.
Cleveland beat the Brooklyn Nets 98 – 94 last night in front of a sell-out crowd at the Q.
Kyrie Irving finished with 15 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds.
It was the first regular-season game in Mike Brown's return as coach.