Man ordered to hold bullying sign says sentence ruined his life
A northeast Ohio man ordered to spend five hours at a street corner with a sign declaring he's a bully says his sentence was unfair and the judge who gave it to him ruined his life. The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports 62-year-old Edmond Aviv says he tried to ignore honking horns and people who stopped by to talk with him yesterday in South Euclid. Aviv had pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. A neighbor said he had bullied her and her disabled children for the past 15 years. A court probation officer monitored Aviv on Sunday.
School districts see shrinking enrollment
Many Ohio school districts are seeing shrinking enrollment as the state's younger population declines. The Columbus Dispatch reports state figures show most districts' enrollment is down over the last few years. The Ohio-based company FutureThink forecasts that trend to continue over the next couple years. A digital-mapping company report projects a 2 percent drop by 2018, or about 56,000 fewer children. Nationally, affluent suburban districts are usually the ones seeing growth, while urban and rural schools decline. There are exceptions, such as Columbus City Schools. The state capital's public schools district has shown a 2.8 percent uptick in enrollment for the current school year. But it is still down over the last five years and well below enrollment a decade ago.
League Park to open for summer season
Cleveland's League Park, where the Indians played in the early 1900s, should be ready for baseball again this summer. Work on restoring and renovating what's left of the old ballpark on Cleveland's east side should be done by mid-July. The city is putting $6.3 million into the project that will include an artificial turf baseball field where Babe Ruth and Cy Young once played. Nearly all of League Park was torn down in 1951. But the first baseline grandstand wall and a ticket house that still stand are being renovated. The Plain Dealer newspaper reports that city leaders say the new field could end up hosting high school games and adults who want to play on the historic site.
Federal judge to issue gay marriage ruling
A federal judge is set to issue what could be the most sweeping ruling yet on gay marriage in Ohio, despite a statewide ban. Judge Timothy Black has indicated that he expects to rule today, ordering Ohio to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. If he does, Black's ruling will allow gay couples in Ohio to obtain the same benefits of any other married couple in the state, including property rights and the right to make some medical decisions for their partners. Black is not expected to force Ohio to allow gay marriages to be performed in the state. The state plans to appeal Black's ruling, arguing that Ohio has a sovereign right to ban gay marriage.
Transportation secretary to look at Ohio projects
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx plans to get a close look at projects in two Ohio areas. Foxx is scheduled to be in central Ohio this morning. There he plans to view a Connector Project in the Columbus area. This afternoon, Foxx will be in the Cincinnati area to review transportation-related manufacturing projects, involving Amtrak electric locomotives, built at a Siemens plant.
Cleveland murders suspect in custody
A Cleveland man wanted by authorities in the killing of a 26-year-old woman has been taken into custody following an 8-hour standoff with police. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that 33-year-old Eric Norris surrendered just after 7 p.m. last night following a standoff that began Sunday morning. Norris was being sought in the April 3 shooting death of Diveen Martin. Police issued a warrant for his arrest the next day.
ODNR adding oversight to fracking operations
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is adding new oversight to hydraulic fracturing operations after a series of earthquake last month near Youngstown were believed to be was connected to fracking. But some experts say those regulations aren't enough. Youngstown State geology professor Raymond Beiersdorfer told the Youngstown Business Journal the changes are a step in the right direction. But Beiersdorfer questions ODNR’s terminology describing the seismic events. The state said its geologists believed the fracking activity released pressure on a "microfault" in the area. Beiersdorfer says microfault is not a geological term. He also believes any company that identifies previously unknown faults should be required to report them to ODNR. ODNR will now require drilling companies to monitor seismic activity at drilling pads near known faults, and stop drilling if tremors are detected.
Ohio grape crops suffering after hard winter
After the harsh winter, much of Ohio's wine grape crop is gone. According to the Beacon Journal, the past few months have been the worse for grape growers in 20 years. The extent of the damage depends largely on the type of grapes. Some heartier American grapes like Concord, Catawba and Niagra are still okay. More delicate European grapes like Chardonnay and Riesling had much more serious damage, and could disappear all together in Ohio. Growers say this winter was worse than the last harsh season in 1994. Growers estimate loses of about 97 percent of European grape vines, 57 percent of hybrids and 29 percent of American grapes.
New legislation aims to control algae blooms
With spring’s arrival the next wave of algae blooms will soon start growing in Ohio’s lakes. According to the Columbus Dispatch, state leaders are hoping a bill that regulates commercial fertilizer use will help quell the problem. Senate Bill 150 passed last week, and aims to cut phosphorus runoff from farms through a new certification program for farmers who apply fertilizer to 50 or more acres. Phosphorus runoff is a leading cause of the algae blooms.
Appellate judge to sit in on Ohio Supreme Court decision on traffic cameras
A veteran northeast Ohio appellate judge will sit in when the Ohio Supreme Court decides in a lawsuit against traffic camera enforcement. Judge W. Scott Gwinn of the Fifth District Court of Appeals will fill in for Justice Terrence O'Donnell. O'Donnell last week removed himself from the Toledo traffic cameras case for an unspecified reason. The court has set oral arguments for June 11 in a motorist's challenge of a red-light citation in Toledo. The motorist says the city's traffic camera system violates his constitutional due process rights. The state's highest court likely will have a decisive say on camera enforcement, after motorists won recent lawsuits in several other municipalities.
Lincoln funeral train to visit Ohio
A full-size replica of a steam locomotive that pulled Abraham Lincoln's funeral car will visit Ohio this week. The Leviathan 63 engine is part of the planned 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train project that will re-enact the U.S. president's final journey from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois. The Columbus Dispatch reports Ohio will get an advance look at the engine when it stops at the Lake Shore Railway Association in Wellington in northeast Ohio this week and at the Ohio statehouse in Columbus the next week. The visits are intended to help raise funds for completion of the Lincoln Funeral Car that will travel with the locomotive in 2015 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination. The re-created funeral train will pass through Ohio and six other states.
Ohio gas prices up
The cost for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio was averaging $3.68 in Monday's survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That's up about 8 cents from a week ago. Monday's Ohio price is identical to the price a month ago, 29 cents higher than last year at this time. The national average Monday was 4 cents lower than the Ohio average, at 3.64 per gallon. That's up 6 cents from last week, and it's 12 cents higher than a month ago. Department of Energy forecasters expect the April through September national average to be about $3.57 a gallon, a little lower than the past few summers.