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Morning Headlines: ECOT Mounts Another Appeal; Woman Injured on State Fair Ride To Get $1.8 Million

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DAN KONIK

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, April 18:

  • Summit County offers tax relief after storm damage;
  • Republican lawmakers took part in London trip with embattled Ohio House speaker;
  • Cleveland police chief says chase policy emboldens criminals;
  • Online charter school mounts another appeal with Ohio Supreme Court;
  • Woman injured on Ohio State Fair ride to receive $1.8 million;
  • Cleveland man pleads guilty to fatally shooting Salvation Army worker;
  • Kucinich campaign reports payment for speaking engagement from pro-Assad group;

Summit County offers tax relief after storm damage
Summit County is offering tax relief for people whose homes sustained damage in powerful storms last weekend. Property owners can download and file an application on the county’s fiscal office website. The application effectively lowers the property taxes charged this year by reducing property values by 75 percent. Damaged landscaping and personal items do not qualify. Those affected have until the end of the year to apply.

Republican lawmakers took part in London trip with embattled Ohio House speaker
Republican lawmakers from at least four states have acknowledged taking part in a London trip with lobbyists and Ohio House speaker Cliff Rosenberger. Rosenberger resigned last week citing questioning by federal investigators about his activities, including the trip. House leaders from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Dakota were also at the four-day event sponsored and paid for by a group that works to elect Republicans. The politicians say the money for their trip did not come from taxpayers and they were not lobbied during the event. Rosenberger was criticized for his lavish lifestyle but says his actions as speaker were "ethical and lawful." The FBI won't confirm or deny there's an investigation into Rosenberger.

Cleveland police chief says chase policy emboldens criminals
Cleveland’s police chief says his department’s policy on chasing violent suspects is emboldening criminals. In the last week, there have been two separate incidents in which officers were shot and supervisors would not allow officers to give chase. Under the city’s consent decree, officers are not allowed to chase suspects without permission from a supervisor. The policy was put in place after a 2012 chase involving more than a dozen officers that resulted in officers shooting and killing two unarmed people. In a memo, police chief Calvin Williams said criminals “know they’re not going to be chased” because they “feel empowered to do whatever they want.”

Online charter school mounts another appeal with state's high court
An Ohio online charter school that was one of the nation's largest before it suspended operations is filing another appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court. The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow or ECOT is looking to overturn a State Board of Education order that the school repay $60 million in state funding in a dispute over the number of enrolled students. The appeal argues the state board violated the Open Meetings Act while making its decision. ECOT suspended operations in January. ECOT officials are arguing in a separate case that the education department illegally changed its rules for counting students.

Woman injured on Ohio State Fair ride to receive $1.8 million
A woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a thrill ride accident at last year's Ohio State Fair will receive $1.8 million. A judge has approved the settlement that calls for the ride's owner, Amusements of America, and two private inspection companies to pay Jennifer Lambert's legal fees and medical expenses. The settlement includes a trust to pay for ongoing care for Lambert, who remains in a long-term care facility. She was 18 when a carriage on the Fire Ball ride broke apart last July, killing a teenager and seriously injuring Lambert and three others.

Cleveland man pleads guilty to fatally shooting Salvation Army worker
A Cleveland man has pleaded guilty in the fatal shooting of a Salvation Army worker who was going out to collect money at one of the charity's kettles. William Jones, 27, will be sentenced in May for the December slaying of Jared Plesec. Investigators say Plesec was wearing his Salvation Army uniform and had stopped to discuss the Bible with someone when Jones shot him. By pleading guilty, Jones will avoid the possibility of the death penalty.

Foursome charged in IRS tax scam
Four Ohioans have been charged in an IRS tax scam involving fraudulent returns and millions in tax refunds. Keith Jeffries, 44, of Maple Heights operated a tax prep business that filed fake returns in clients’ names. Jeffries and three others then took part of the refunds as a fee. The four filed more than 2,400 returns over three years. The fake returns resulted in $15 million in federal refunds. All four pleaded not guilty last week and were released on bond.

Kucinich campaign reports payment for speaking engagement from pro-Assad group 
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich has reported 2017 speaking income from a group with sympathies toward the Syrian government. Kucinich acknowledged today that he earned $20,000 for a speech last year from the pro-Assad Syrian Solidarity Movement. His campaign spokesman said he spoke at the association's peace conference Kucinich reported the income as part of an amended ethics filing following complaints he had listed "paid speeches" as a revenue source without specifying who paid him.