Morning Headlines: Liberty Hangout Chapter Sues KSU; Cleveland to Spend $27M on Police Upgrades

Nov 8, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, November 8:

  • Liberty Hangout chapter sues Kent State;
  • Cleveland to spend $27M on police department upgrades;
  • Norton issued over 9,000 tickets in past 2 months;
  • Govenor-elect Mike DeWine begins transition work;
  • Police: Potential Stark County school shooter acted alone;
  • Voters approved 69 percent of school tax issues during elections;
  • Former Niles mayor sentenced to 10 years in prison;

Liberty Hangout chapter sues Kent State
A conservative student group is suing Kent State over security costs for an upcoming event. Liberty Hangout claims the university is trying to unconstitutionally impose a nearly $1,800 fee to have officers and security for the group’s “Let’s Talk Gun Rights” event on Nov. 19. The lawsuit includes a motion to bar to the university from charging additional fees. Liberty Hangout hosted an open-carry walk in September on Kent State’s campus, which resulted in several arrests. Kent State alumna and gun rights activist Kaitlin Bennett plans to be at the event.

Cleveland to spend $27M in police department upgrades
Cleveland plans to spend more than $27 million in equipment upgrades for its police department over the next five years. Cleveland.com reports the plan will ensure the department keeps up to date with technology and will hold employees accountable for upgrades. It also calls for nearly $2.6 million annually to maintain equipment and software. The plan came following a consent decree from the Justice Department after it found officers had been using outdated equipment and police cars.

Norton issued over 9,000 tickets in past 2 months
Police in Norton issued more than 9,000 speeding violations in the past two months, racking up $1.8 million in fines for the city. From Sept. 10 through Oct. 31, Norton issued 9,352 civil violations for speeding under its photo-enforced radar program. The Akron Beacon Journal reports tickets were $200 each, totaling $1.8 million in fines. The city released statistics on the program Tuesday. Norton officials say the program reduces highway crashes and slows down motorists in a dangerous construction zone area. Critics contend that the program creates a speed trap meant to raise revenue for the city. The city says the photo-enforced program has been temporarily suspended for the winter and is expected to return next spring when construction work on Interstate 76 resumes.

Govenor-elect Mike DeWine begins transition work
Govenor-elect Mike DeWine has begun immediate preparations for his transition to office less than 24 hours after defeating Democrat Richard Cordray. The Republican attorney general on Wednesday named long-time aide Laurel Dawson as his transition director, Lisa Peterson as his communications director and LeeAnne Cornyn as his director of children's initiatives. At a Statehouse news conference, DeWine said there will be "no litmus test" for his Cabinet appointments aside from qualifications, and that includes political party affiliation. DeWine said Lt. Govenor-elect Jon Husted's role in the new administration has not yet been decided

Police: Potential Stark County school shooter acted alone
A seventh-grader who planned to shoot others at his Stark County school before changing his plans and shooting and killing himself acted alone. Jackson Township police say they have closed their investigation into 13-year-old Keith Simons' death in February at Jackson Memorial Middle School. Authorities have determined Simons didn't tell anyone about his plans, and prosecutors are not filing any charges. Police have said that Simons loaded crude explosives and ammunition in a backpack on Feb. 20 and hid a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle under his clothing. Security video showed him entering a school bathroom and exiting briefly before re-entering the bathroom, where police say he shot himself. He died at a hospital the next day.

Voters approved 69 percent of school tax issues during elections
The Ohio School Boards Association said voters around the state approved 69 percent of the public school district tax issues that were on ballots Tuesday. The group said there were 175 of those tax issues around Ohio, and unofficial elections results show voters approved 121 of them. They passed all but a few of the 81 issues that were renewals. Ninety-four new school tax issues were put to a vote, and fewer than half of those were approved. In two counties, some schools jointly asked voters for more funding using a new state law that essentially lets a group of districts propose a levy specifically to pay for school security efforts and mental health services. Both of those measures — in Brown and Butler counties — were defeated.

Former Niles mayor sentenced to 10 years in prison
The former mayor of Niles who was sentenced to 10 years in prison is appealing his conviction and asking for a new trial. Long-time Niles mayor Ralph Infante was accused of running an illegal gambling house and taking bribes in exchange for jobs. He was convicted on more than 20 charges, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. In a court filing this week, his attorney alleges there wasn't sufficient evidence for a conviction on that charge. Prosecutors accused Infante of misusing the mayor's office beginning shortly after his election in 1992.