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Power outages remain after strong storms
Other morning headlines: Grand jury to reconvene in Steubenville rape case; Questions arise about state school board conflicts
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and LAUREN SCHMOLL


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Power outages remain after strong storms
  • Grand jury to reconvene in Steubenville rape case
  • Union leaders target governor's race
  • Questions arise about state school board conflicts
  • Akron diner that served President Obama closed
  • DeWine to announce statewide anti-heroin effort
  • Ohio expected to have 7th largest corn crop in U.S.
  • Ohio gas prices rise again
  • Cleveland to return seized gun
  • Ohio gun bill scheduled for committee vote
  • Buyers of student housing complex sue sellers 
  • Power outages remain after strong storms
    First Energy
    is reporting a few thousand homes are still without electricity across Northeast Ohio this morning, the bulk of those in the Cleveland area.

    American Electric Power says about 1,300 are without power in Stark and Tuscarawas Counties. 

    A statewide tornado watch was cancelled after serious storms moved out of Ohio by 10 p.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

    There were no confirmed reports of tornadoes in Ohio, although winds gusted to 66 miles per hour. The storms ripped off some roofs and downed trees. On Cleveland’s east side, the building which once housed the General Electric company collapsed. It was already in the process of being torn down when strong winds caused the rest of the building to give way. No one was hurt.


    Grand jury to reconvene in Steubenville rape case
    An eastern Ohio grand jury plans to reconvene to hear evidence of other laws broken in the rape of a 16-year-old West Virginia girl last year.

    Among issues being investigated by the Steubenville panel today is whether adults like teachers or coaches knew of the rape but failed to report it, as required by state law.

    The grand jury previously charged the Steubenville city schools' information technology director with tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, obstructing official business and perjury. The panel also has indicted the technology director's daughter on theft and receiving stolen property charges unrelated to the rape case.

    Attorney General Mike DeWine convened the grand jury March 17, the day a judge convicted two Steubenville High School football players of raping the West Virginia girl in August 2012. 


    Union leaders target governor's race
    Union leaders are looking ahead to Ohio's governor's race after knocking off a big city mayor who was their top political target this year.

    Organized labor helped oust Toledo's mayor two years after he infuriated unions by appearing in a TV commercial backing a collective bargaining law that Ohio voters later overturned.

    Democrats and labor officials believe Toledo Mayor Mike Bell's loss was fueled by his endorsement of the Republican plan to limit collective bargaining for public workers.

    Now they're hoping there's enough anger left over to defeat Governor John Kasich. Unions plan to remind voters often it was the governor who signed the law. But some political strategists expect the health of Ohio's economy to be a big factor in the race.


    Questions arise about state school board conflicts
    Questions are beginning to arise about possible conflicts of interest concerning state school board members and their private business lives.

    The Beacon Journal reports that Akron-area board member Bryan Williams is one of four members with interests that compete directly for education dollars.

    Outside of his role on the state school board, Williams is a lobbyist for a nonunion building contractors group, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio. His job is to persuade legislators and agencies to make laws and spend money in ways that will benefit the group.

    The board members with potential conflicts told the Beacon Journal they police themselves, abstain when needed and file any required statements with the Ohio Ethics Commission.


    Akron diner that served president closed
    A diner in Akron that once served President Obama is no more. Ann’s Place has been shut down because of delinquent taxes, according to the Beacon Journal.

    The restaurant on South Hawkins Avenue made national news after its owner died shortly after talking to reporters about how excited she was to meet the president back in July of 2012.

    Her daughter took over the 30 year old business, which has been delinquent in property taxes since 2011. She says the family is discussing what to do next. Some patrons say they are taking matters into their own hands and talking to potential investors.


    DeWine to announce statewide anti-heroin effort
    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is expected to announce a new statewide anti-heroin effort today.

    DeWine calls the issue an epidemic, and says heroin overdoses, addiction and trafficking is a growing problem. DeWine will unveil his plans to help curb the problem at 10 a.m. in Columbus. The Montgomery County Coroner and the parents of an overdose victim will also speak.

    Another event focusing on fighting the heroin problem will be held in Cleveland on Thursday, hosted by the Cleveland Clinic and federal prosecutors.  Cuyahoga County says heroin-related deaths there have tripled since 2007, and the county is on pace to see even more deaths this year.


    Ohio expected to have 7th largest corn crop in U.S.
    Ohio's corn crop is projected to show about a 40 percent jump over last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Ohio should have nation's seventh biggest corn crop with 632 million bushels. Ohio farmers on average are projected to get 174 bushels per acre. A year ago, the average yield in the state was 123 bushels per acre.

    Farmers tell The Blade newspaper in Toledo that yields range quite a bit because of strong summer storms that drenched some fields.

    Ohio gas prices rise again
    Ohio gas prices have jumped back up after a week or so of flirting with the $3-a-gallon level.

    The state average was $3.18 for a gallon of regular gas in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That's up a dime from this time last week.

    The Ohio price was a few cents less than the national average of $3.21, which was up 2 cents from a week ago. The state average is still 21 cents lower than a month ago, and 29 cents lower than a year ago. Experts say we may already have seen the lowest prices of 2013, thanks to a recent jump in wholesale prices.


    Cleveland to return seized gun
    The city of Cleveland will return a gun it seized back in February, in a settlement following a federal court battle.

    The Plain Dealer reports Derrick Washington sued in August when the city refused to return his weapon.

    Police seized the gun after Washington called police reporting a shooting. He met with officers and told them he had a gun in his car and a concealed carry license. He was arrested, accused of using weapons while intoxicated and illegally carrying a concealed weapon.

    Washington was jailed for three days before prosecutors dropped the charges, but police continued to hold on to the gun. City law allows seized weapons to be held until a judge orders them returned.


    Ohio gun bill scheduled for committee vote
    A proposed, hotly-contested gun bill will be up for discussion in the state legislature this week.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports that the bill is scheduled for a possible House committee vote on Tuesday. 

    It contains several provisions that law enforcement and gun restriction advocates are not happy about: Including eliminating a 12 hour training requirement, allowing low-level drug offenders to carry a concealed handgun,  and the so-called “Stand your ground” rule.

    Under the “Stand your ground” provision, a person has no requirement to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense or the defense of another.

    Buyers of student housing complex sue sellers
    The new owners of a student housing complex in downtown Akron are suing the building’s previous owners for allegedly misrepresenting the occupancy rate.

    According to the Beacon Journal, 22 Exchange LLC claims Exchange Street Associates knowingly misled them about student lease information. That led 22 Exchange to believe leasing would be higher than it actually was.

    22 Exchange also filed complaints about the building’s construction and water leaks. Exchange Street says the lawsuit is without merit.

    Earlier this year, Exchange Street Associates sold the building to 22 Exchange for $28 million.

     



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