Morning Headlines: Nina Simone, Bon Jovi Among 2018 Rock Hall Inductees; Bail Reform Bill Introduced
Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, December 13th:
- State releases list of financially distressed cities;
- Nina Simone, Bon Jovi lead 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees;
- Cuyahoga County approves purchase of license plate cameras;
- Cuyahoga Arts and Culture seeks to award more grants to artists of color;
- Bail reform legislation introduced in Ohio House;
- ObamaCare enrollment in Ohio is up despite Trump administration opposition;
- Kasich calls for Congress to reauthorize CHIP;
- Execution date is set for Cleveland cop killer;
- University community reacts to white nationalist's planned Cincinnati appearance;
- State says proposed prison merger could save money;
- Paving company apparently targeted in federal raid defends its record;
- Catholic priest claims teens shot at him, tried to steal eggs;
- Ohio Board of Education recommends fewer exams for graduation;
- State investigators take on Canton brewing equipment company that allegedly defrauded clients;
- Summit County budget aims to close fiscal gap through fees, not taxes;
- Veteran baseball writer Sheldon Ocker earns top honor in Baseball Hall of Fame;
State releases list of financially distressed cities
Akron, East Cleveland and Canton are listed among nine cities in financial distress. The state auditor’s office on Tuesday released its report of cities that faced financial hardship in 2016. Lorain and Maple Heights also made the list. The report analyzes city and county financial statements for 17 “financial health indicators.” Auditor Dave Yost tells Cleveland.com the state should provide more financial support for state policies at the city level.
Nina Simone, Bon Jovi lead 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees
Iconic singer Nina Simone and New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi lead the 2018 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees announced early this morning. The Cars, as well as first-time contenders Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, also are part of the 2018 class. They will be inducted on April 14 in Cleveland.
Cuyahoga County approves purchase of license plate cameras
Cuyahoga County says it will spend nearly $900,000 to purchase license plate scanners. A total of 73 cameras will be installed at busy sections in Cleveland suburbs. The cameras will be paid for with the county’s general fund and a grant from FEMA. The plan has drawn criticism from civil rights groups who have raised concerns about privacy. Law enforcement officials say the cameras will making it easier to catch criminals.
Cuyahoga Arts and Culture seeks to award more grants to artists of color
Cuyahoga Arts and Culture is considering how to award more grants to artists of color. The nonprofit formed a group to look into demographics of grant recipients. The Support for Artists Planning Team found since 2009, fewer than 1 in 10 artists who got grants was black. A spokesman tells Cleveland.com the number of awards going to artists of color does not reflect Cuyahoga County, where about 1 in 3 residents is black. A member of the group has recommended CAC issue “a public apology” and give the majority of future grants to people of color. The recommendations were unanimously approved and a timeline for implementation will be presented in February.
Bail reform legislation introduced in Ohio House
Proposed legislation would create a statewide bail system that analyzes offenders' risk to society if released and likelihood of skipping out on court appearances. The bill also addresses the practice of jailing people simply because they don't have the money to post bond. The House bill would let judges set nonmonetary bail and require courts to collect data on bail, pretrial release and sentencing. A related report by the Columbus-based Buckeye Institute released Monday said cash bail hurts the poor and allows dangerous offenders the chance to buy their freedom.
ObamaCare enrollment in Ohio is up despite Trump administration opposition
Federal officials say nearly 81,000 Ohioans have enrolled in health plans through the federal marketplace. Enrollment figures recently released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reflect those who picked plans or renewed coverage for 2018 from Nov. 1 through Dec. 2. In Ohio, sign-ups are up 18 percent from the same point last year. That's despite Republican President Donald Trump's executive action cutting the advertising budget for participation under former President Barack Obama's signature health care law. Open enrollment ends Friday.
Kasich calls for Congress to reauthorize CHIP
Governor John Kasich is among 12 governors of both parties urging Congress to reauthorize funding for a popular children's health insurance program as soon as possible. The recommendation involving the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, came in a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday. Kasich, a Republican, and Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper led the letter-writing effort. Fresh funding for the $14 billion CHIP program ran out Oct. 1. Since then, some states have relied on unspent funds. Others got a short-term reprieve in the two-week spending bill President Donald Trump signed Friday.
Execution date is set for Cleveland cop killer
The Ohio Supreme Court has set an execution date nearly five years in the future for a man sentenced to death for killing a Cleveland police officer. Quisi Bryan was convicted of shooting officer Wayne Leon in 2000 at a Cleveland gas station after the officer stopped Bryan for a traffic violation. The court on Tuesday set Bryan's execution date for October, 2022. He is one of more than two dozen Ohio death row inmates with execution dates over the next few years.
University community reacts to white nationalist's planned Cincinnati appearance
The decision to allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak at the University of Cincinnati is generating strong reactions from the school community. Messages to first-year UC president Neville Pinto and other administrators obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request show that crosstown basketball rival Xavier University was among the first to offer support. Meanwhile, a UC English professor is criticizing Pinto for allegedly buckling under pressure.
State says proposed prison merger could save money
The Ohio prisons system says a proposed merging of the state's adult and youth prison services agencies will ultimately save about $260,000 a year. That savings will come from shared costs like parking and computer contracts despite overall higher rent. Sen. Jay Hottinger is a Republican who sits on the state Controlling Board. He said he's supportive of the merger after being assured it's not a complete combining of the two agencies.
Paving company apparently targeted in federal raid defends its record
A Geauga County-based paving company is defending its record of work with the City of Cleveland after last week’s federal raid on city hall’s engineering office. Burton Scot Contractors tells Cleveland.com it’s proud of the more than $7 million in contracts with the city in the past three years and will cooperate with investigators. A company statement says all of the work was competitively bid and awarded. Burton Scot and an engineering company owned by a city employee were named in the warrants issued by the FBI, IRS, and HUD. Authorities have not revealed what prompted the raid and no charges have been announced. The case remains under seal in U.S. District Court.
Catholic priest claims teens shot at him, tried to steal eggs
A Roman Catholic priest in Cleveland says two teenagers shot at him three times as they tried to rob him of the eggs he had just retrieved from the church chicken coop. The Rev. John Kumse says the teens ambushed him Monday night after he closed up the coop at St. Mary's Church in Collinwood. He says they demanded the eggs then chased him across the church parking lot, firing three times and missing. He says the teens ran off and jumped into a minivan when a neighbor came out and turned on a light.
Ohio Board of Education recommends fewer exams for graduation
The Ohio Board of Education is recommending lawmakers reduce the number of exams students must take to graduate. Board members voted Tuesday to get rid of three types of assessments. The first are local tests that are used solely to evaluate teachers. Ohio Board of Education members voted to also eliminate the WorkKeys exam, a test that students in career-tech pathways must pass to graduate. State Superintendent of Instruction Paolo DeMaria says the recommendation comes from a career-tech work group that studied the testing requirements. Career tech students must achieve an industry credential plus take end of course exams to graduate and DeMaria says that should be sufficient. The Board also recommends Ohio lawmakers do away with the end of the year English test for freshmen.
State investigators take on Canton brewing equipment company that allegedly defrauded clients
The state is joining the investigation into a former brewing equipment company in Canton. SysTech Stainless Works is accused of failing to deliver on orders after taking thousands of dollars in deposits from clients. The company also faces accusations of delivering faulty equipment and lying about where its products were made. At least a dozen breweries from around the country have filed complaints against the company. The Beacon Journal reports the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation took on the case after learning the company allegedly took advantage of clients in multiple states. Filings with the attorney general show each brewery claiming they lost deposits between $30,000 and $50,000. SysTech went out of business in September.
Summit County budget aims to close fiscal gap through fees, not taxes
Summit County has approved its final budget for 2018. The new budget notably does not include any tax increases. Instead, the county will raise fees to help close a projected shortfall. County Council at its last meeting for this year approved increases to fees for parking and construction. The fee to park in a deck will go up to $1.25 for each 15 minutes. . It’s not yet clear when higher parking deck fees would start. On its website, County Council outlines higher building code fees that will go into effect February 1. The county has also pushed back hearings on proposed increases to vehicle registration fees to early next year.
Veteran baseball writer Sheldon Ocker earns top honor in Baseball HOF
A veteran Akron sports journalist is being recognized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Former Beacon Journal Indians reporter Sheldon Ocker is this year's JG Taylor Spink Award winner. The Spink Award is the highest honor given to baseball writers. Ocker started out covering high school sports in the ‘60s. He went on to cover the Indians for 33 years before retiring in 2014.