Weekend warm-up and rain could cause ice jams, more water main breaks
We’re going to be thawing out this weekend, with temperatures today above freezing for the first time in five days. The National Weather Service warns that with rain on the way tonight, there is a chance of flooding around creeks and rivers this weekend because of ice jams. Channel 8 reports Eastlake officials are meeting today to discuss preparations for the Chagrin River. On Thursday, ice chunks covered the river’s surface as high as two feet above the actual water level.
Cold temps cause more trouble for Cleveland’s public transit
This week’s brutal cold temperatures have caused more troubles for Cleveland’s public transit agency. A burst pipe caused flooding Thursday night at the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's downtown station and stopped all train traffic from Tower City to the East 55th Street station. Officials were not able to shut off the water until around 8pm. RTA officials had to work through most of the night to get rid of the water in the station. Trains were halted earlier this week when huge icicles were blocking tracks. Buses also shut down because they couldn’t start in the cold.
Pipes burst in dozens of buildings at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Officials at Ohio's largest military base say sub-zero temperatures this week caused water pipes to burst in about three dozen buildings there. The damage from the plunging temperatures to the buildings at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Dayton Daily News reports that the cold snap Monday and Tuesday burst pipes in at least 35 buildings on the base. The problem caused the most damage in the acquisition management complex where water spilled into hallways and stairwells. An official said it was the worst outbreak of burst water pipes at the base since winter 1978.
Stark County man asks for clemency in mercy killing
A Stark County man sentenced to six years in prison for fatally shooting his ailing wife in her hospital bed has asked the governor for clemency. The request was submitted on behalf of 68-year-old John Wise of Massillon. His lawyer says Wise is in poor health and isn't likely to survive his six-year sentence. Wise says he shot his debilitated wife out of love in August 2012 after she suffered aneurysms and appeared to be in pain at an Akron hospital. Mercy is not a defense to a murder charge in Ohio. The prosecutor's office recommended the reduced sentence that Wise was given. Prosecutors have said they would oppose any further reduction in the punishment. The governor's spokesman declined to comment on the clemency request.
Cleveland sex offender helps FBI effort
A Cleveland sex offender who pleaded guilty to killing two women more than 15 years ago and raping children is opening up to members of an elite FBI unit that studies serial killers and rapists. Elias Acevedo Sr. agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison for the crimes. But The Plain Dealer reports he's also fulfilling a promise to assist behavioral analysts who work with the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. It wasn't part of Acevedo's plea agreement, but his attorney Bret Jordan said the interviews were his client's idea. The FBI declined to comment on the arrangement.
Kasich set to unveil plans for shuttered GM site
Gov. John Kasich is ready to unveil plans for a new plant in southwest Ohio that could mean up to 800 jobs. Kasich has a press conference scheduled today in Columbus with company and plant site officials. The new plant would be on land where General Motors idled an assembly plant in 2008 in the south Dayton suburb of Moraine. The Dayton Daily News reports that a Chinese manufacturer is expected to sign an agreement to begin operations at the site. Late last year, the city of Moraine sought funding from Montgomery County for a project also involving JobsOhio, the state's private development arm. Industrial Realty Group acquired the former GM plant site in 2011 and renamed it "Progress Park." Smaller companies already are operating there.
Ohio agencies team up to fight human trafficking
Ohio is partnering with libraries, highway rest areas, clinics and facilities overseen by state agencies to build awareness about human trafficking. Gov. John Kasich’s office made the announcement Thursday, during an annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day at the Statehouse. Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Kasich's office says the goals of the awareness campaign are to educate people on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking, how to report it and how to direct victims to available services and treatment. For instance, the Ohio Turnpike Commission plans to place posters in its service plazas.
Driver’s licenses hard to get in Ohio due to glitch
Hundreds of Ohioans trying to get or renew their driver's licenses this week are running into trouble because of computer problems. The state Bureau of Motor Vehicles says people with licenses nearing expiration who can't renew because of the glitch are being issued letters to explain the problem so they're not penalized for it by law enforcement officials. It's not clear when the technical glitch might be resolved. A BMV spokeswoman says the problem started Monday with a software update, and the issue is affecting access to databases that help check drivers' records. She says the outages have been sporadic. Some drivers have been able to get their licenses.
Condemned killer asks for reprieve, challenges injection method
A condemned Ohio killer facing execution next week by an untried lethal drug process has asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a reprieve. Attorneys for Dennis McGuire argue that thanks to poor legal representation the jury that sentenced McGuire to death never got to hear the full extent of McGuire's troubled childhood. The request late Wednesday is separate from McGuire's argument in a lower court that the two-drug combination will cause him "agony and terror" as he struggles to catch his breath. The filing with the Supreme Court says jurors never learned that McGuire was malnourished, had to regularly steal food and was frequently beaten as a boy. A message was left with the Ohio Attorney General's Office, which is expected to oppose the filing.
Indians: We are NOT phasing out Chief Wahoo
The Cleveland Indians say they are NOT phasing out their controversial Chief Wahoo mascot. A report by blogger Paul Lukas this week said the Indians are changing their primary logo to the “block C,” suggesting team is moving toward retiring Chief Wahoo. He did note that Wahoo would still appear on caps and jerseys. The Plain Dealer reports that last year, the "block C" replaced Chief Wahoo in a new Major League Baseball guide to be used during broadcasts. Indians officials tell the newspaper the change is largely about paperwork and the team has no plans to change how Chief Wahoo is used.
Pilot Flying J settles with Nashville trucking company
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s truck stop business has settled one lawsuit over rebate fraud. A Nashville trucking firm says it’s agreed to a settlement with Pilot Flying J. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Western Express had alleged it lost more than $75 million over rebates withheld by Pilot. Terms of the settlement have not been made public. Western Express was among several companies that declined to participate in Pilot’s $85 million class-action settlement with dozens of trucking companies. Haslam has denied any prior knowledge of the rebate scheme. Seven former Pilot employees have pleaded guilty to federal charges, and two others have agreed to cooperate with investigators.
Muzzloader hunters unfazed by extreme cold
Officials say hunters in Ohio bagged nearly 16,500 white-tailed deer during the four-day muzzleloader season, part of which occurred as the state logged its coldest temperatures in about two decades. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says some hunters apparently were undeterred by the extreme cold as they checked more than 3,800 deer on Monday and Tuesday. Guernsey County in eastern Ohio had the highest number of deer bagged between Saturday and Tuesday with 652. The state says more than 185,000 deer have been bagged so far during the 2013-2014 hunting seasons. Deer-archery season is open until Feb. 2.