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New look unveiled for Cleveland's Public Square
Other headlines: Search continues for missing boaters; Watershed district cuts tax assessments in half

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
  • Search continues for missing boaters
  • Watershed district cuts tax assessments in half
  • Organic farmer sentenced to probation for pot plants
  • Ohio fines prison food contractor
  • New look unveiled for Cleveland's Public Square 
    The City of Cleveland has unveiled plans for a major renovation of its signature downtown space.

    Mayor Frank Jackson’s Group Plan Commission has released the architectural drawings for a revamped Public Square.

    The Plain Dealer reports that the $30 million project calls for routing traffic around the square, and removing two blocks of Ontario Street that run through it.

    The plan includes a cafe, a “splash zone” water feature and a lawn for outdoor events.

    Planners hope to break ground on the project this fall and completed in time for Cleveland’s bid to host a national political convention in 2016.

    Search continues for missing boaters
    Coast Guard crews resumed the search this morning for two missing fisherman in the waters off Port Clinton.

    The bodies of two of the boaters missing since Wednesday night have been recovered.

    The victims are 33-year-old Amy Santus of Perrysburg and 16-year-old Paige Widmer of Leesville, South Carolina.

    Both were wearing life jackets.

    The names of their missing companions, two men in their 30’s, have not been released.

    Watershed district cuts tax assessments in half
    The Muskingum Watershed District is cutting its tax assessments in half for nearly 500,000 property owners.

    Landowners in counties stretching from Medina and Summit south to Washington and Noble will see a 50-percent drop next year in their property tax bills from $12 to $6.

    The District made the cuts thanks to big returns from natural gas royalties.

    The district gets about $11 million a year from the assessments, and it’s gotten close to $78 million in signing bonuses for drilling leases. Royalties add another $3 million. 

    Organic farmer sentenced to probation for pot plants
    An Ohio judge is allowing an organic farmer to keep his 5-acre property despite the discovery that he was growing hundreds of marijuana plants.

    Defendant Adam Welly is the co-founder of one of central Ohio's largest organic farms and the supplier of food to restaurants throughout the region.

    The Columbus Dispatch reports that Welly was sentenced to spend five years probation for growing the marijuana found on his Union County farm last summer. 

    Ohio fines prison food contractor
    A private food vendor says it's committed to fixing problems with its contract feeding thousands of Ohio prison inmates.

    A spokeswoman for Philadelphia-based Aramark Correctional Services, says the company encountered staffing and operational challenges expected in a large transition.

    The state privatized its food service operations last year with a $110 million contract with Aramark through 2015.

    The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Friday it is fining Aramark more than $142,000 for failing to meet contractual requirements.

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