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Cleveland City Council Votes to Increase Caps on Campaign Donations

Photo of the seal of Cleveland City Council
The City of Cleveland
Top headlines: Man sentenced in the kidnapping and slaying of an elderly northeast Ohio couple; Number of prescriptions for painkillers continues to decline in Ohio; Security for Gov. John Kasich increases to more than $350,000 during presidential race

 

Morning headlines for Tuesday, February 9, 2016:

  • Cleveland City Council votes to increase caps on campaign donations
  • Man sentenced in the kidnapping and slaying of an elderly northeast Ohio couple
  • Northeast Ohio celebrates Fat Tuesday with Polish Paczki
  • Number of prescriptions for painkillers continues to decline in Ohio
  • Ohio Supreme Court to evaluate how cocaine is measured in trafficking and possession cases
  • Ohio will need to construct a new prison in the coming years, says state prison director
  • Security for Gov. John Kasich increases to more than $350,000 during presidential race
  • Chelsea Clinton set to campaign in Ohio on behalf of her mother just days before the state’s primary

Cleveland City Council votes to increase caps on campaign donations 
After struggling to reach an agreement, Cleveland City council has agreed to increase caps on campaign donations. The council’s Finance Committee set mayoral donation limits to $5,000 from an individual and $7,500 from political action committees. Donations for council candidates are now capped at $1,500 from individuals and $3,000 from political action committees. Council President Kevin Kelley sponsored the regulation claiming that increasing limits could help political newcomers run stronger campaigns. Limits were previously set at $1,000 on individual contributions and $2,000 from PACs for both mayoral and council campaigns.

Man sentenced in the kidnapping and slaying of an elderly northeast Ohio couple
A man who authorities say participated in the kidnapping and slaying of an elderly northeast Ohio couple has been sentenced to 50 years in prison. Twenty-two-year-old Jeffery Stewart was sentenced in Coshocton County on Monday after pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated murder and other charges. Police say Stewart and Robert Clark took 88-year-old Doyle Chumney and his wife, 79-year-old Lillian, from their home in Strasburg in Tuscarawas County in January 2015 and drove them to a rural road where Clark shot the couple and set their car on fire. Clark received life without parole.

Number of prescriptions for painkillers continues to decline in Ohio
State officials say the number of prescriptions being written for painkillers continues to fall as Ohio battles a deadly addictions epidemic. Data released by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy Monday show 701 million painkiller pills were dispensed to Ohio patients last year, down 12 percent from a high of 793 million in 2012. The data also show a 71 percent decrease in the number of patients going from doctor to doctor in search of drugs thanks to the pharmacy board's computerized reporting system. The board's executive director attributes the decline to efforts to educate pharmacists and prescribers about the painkiller addiction problem.

Ohio Supreme Court to evaluate how cocaine is measured in trafficking and possession cases
The Ohio Supreme Court today will take a look at how prosecutors measure out cocaine in trafficking and possession cases. Prosecutors are concerned that a ruling against current practices in Ohio could result in shorter sentences for suspects caught with cocaine and force costly changes for law enforcement. It stems from a drug sting near Toledo that netted an 11-year sentence for a man convicted of buying more than 100 grams of cocaine from an undercover informant. A state appeals court ruled prosecutors should have first determined how much pure cocaine the suspect had instead of sentencing him based on the weight of the entire amount.

Ohio will need to construct a new prison in the coming years, says state prison director
The head of Ohio's prisons says the state is close to needing a new prison, but that he won't ask for the estimated $1 billion to build it. The Newark Advocate reports that prison director Gary Mohr spoke at his suburban Columbus church last week, saying he may not request the money but that someone else will. Ohio has 400 more prisoners compared to the same time last year at about 50,000. The female inmate population has grown nearly 5 percent in that time to more than 4,200. Managing Director of Operations Ed Voorhies says Mohr has vowed to resign if he has to ask for a new prison.

Security for Gov. John Kasich increases to more than $350,000 during presidential race
The cost of Ohio Gov. John Kasich's security detail has skyrocketed since the Republican began running for president last year. Records available through the state's online checkbook show out-of-state travel spending from the State Highway Patrol fund that pays Kasich's bodyguards has increased from just under $17,000 during Kasich's first full year in office to more than $350,000 this fiscal year. Detailed spending records show payments for airline tickets and for hotel rooms in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Las Vegas, all Kasich campaign stops.

Chelsea Clinton set to campaign in Ohio on behalf of her mother just days before the state’s primary
Chelsea Clinton is set to campaign for her mother's presidential primary bid in Ohio just days before early voting begins. Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign says Chelsea Clinton plans to stop in Cleveland on Monday to talk to Ohioans about her mother and what's at stake in the state's March 15 primary. Details haven't yet been released. Chelsea Clinton also is expected to raise money during a reception Monday at a private home in the Columbus suburb of Bexley. Early voting for the primary begins on Feb. 17.

Teen arrested in shooting death of Kent State student

A 17-year-old Stow-Munroe Falls High School junior is in custody as a suspect in the murder of a Kent State University student. The Beacon Journal reports that police believe he is one of three armed teens involved in a robbery at an apartment near the Kent State campus where 18 year-old university freshman Nicholas Massa of Westlake was killed Sunday. Ty Kremling is charged with delinquency by aggravated murder in Portage County Juvenile court. The other teens have not been arrested.

Northeast Ohio celebrates Fat Tuesday with Polish Paczki
Today may be the start of the New Hampshire primary, but it also marks Fat Tuesday. The day before the start of the Lenten season for many Christians means eating plenty of Paczki. The Polish jelly-filled doughnuts are an annual staple among Americans and those in Northeast Ohio. You can purchase the delicious sweet treat at many stores across the area, however if you’re in Cleveland the Slavic Village is the top choice for getting your Paczki fix.