Morning Headlines: Cleveland Rep. Sweeney Abruptly Resigns; Willoughby Hills Mayor, Council at Odds

Oct 5, 2018

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, October 5:

  • Cleveland Rep. Sweeney resigns;
  • Willoughby Hills mayor, council at odds;
  • Congress gives OK for opioid legislation;
  • Putt-in-Bay mayor indicted on corruption charges;
  • Cleveland man charged for trying to steal firearm from gun show;
  • Former Macedonia mayor to be arraigned in domestic violence incident;
  • Two more ex-pilot Flying J employees receive prison sentences;
  • Franklin County Coroner warns of overdose spike;
  • New nature presure coming to Cleveland's Slavic Village;
  • Northeast Ohio Medical University president to retire after 10 years;
  • More details found in old Lake Erie ship wreck;

Cleveland Rep. Sweeney abruply resigns 
A two-term Democratic state representative from Cleveland has suddenly resigned his seat. Rep. Martin Sweeney’s announcement that he quit the House as of this past Monday comes with more than two months to go in his term, which was likely to include a busy lame duck session after the election. Sweeney said in his resignation letter the decision was not taken lightly. Sweeney came to the House after serving as Cleveland City Council president. He refers to beginning the next chapter of his professional career in his resignation letter, but doesn’t state his plans. Sweeney wasn’t seeking re-election — he had hoped to move to the state Senate but lost the primary to Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood. But the seat he leaves open is likely to continue to be occupied by a Sweeney. His daughter Bride Rose Sweeney is running to replace him. She faces Libertarian Ryan McClain but has no Republican opponent.

Willougby Hills mayor, council at odds
Willoughby Hills city council is at an impasse with the city’s mayor. Mayor Robert Weger tells Cleveland.com he had to remove six council members after they allegedly passed illegal ordinances. But council members say the mayor is the one who needs to go and they'll meet in the parking lot if they have to in order to continue legislative duties — which they might have to since Wegner changed the locks. A council meeting is scheduled for next week, but it's unknown if there will be enough in attendance to count as a formal meeting.

Congress OKs opioid legislation
Congress this week approved bipartisan legislation aimed at curbing the devastating opioid addiction across the country. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman was a main driver of the bill in the Senate and it includes contributions from at least 70 lawmakers, some of whom face tough re-election campaigns in November. The measure would require the U.S. Postal Service to track international packages and test them for drugs. It would especially target China, the primary source of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl. It would allow physicians assistants and nurse practitioners to prescribe addiction treatment medication. And it would make changes to the country's largest health coverage programs: Medicaid and Medicare. President Donald Trump said he would it sign it into law.

Putt-in-Bay mayor indicted on corruption charges
The village mayor on a popular Lake Erie resort island has been indicted on public corruption charges. Bernard McCann, 82, is accused of using his position as mayor to secure a waterline project for a business associate. Put-in-Bay's former fiscal officer also was indicted, as were the mayor's two children who had positions with the village. The charges come following a yearlong corruption investigation on the island. Authorities last year searched the Put-in-Bay village offices and the properties linked to the Jet Express ferry service.

Cleveland man charged for trying to steal firearm at gun show
A Cleveland man who tried to steal a firearm from a gun show has been sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison. Prosecutors said Anthony Lett attempted to walk away with 45-caliber pistol from a Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds vendor in 2016. Lett is already serving 20 years for a home invasion that occurred less than a week before the theft.

Former Macedonia mayor to be arraigned following domestic incident
The former mayor of Macedonia will be arraigned this month on burglary charges and for violating a protection order. The charges follow an August incident when Joseph Migliorini allegedly entered his former girlfriend’s house uninvited and threatened her. Migliorini resigned in July following a separate domestic violence incident in Florida.

Two more ex-Pilot Flying J employees receive prison sentences
Two more former employees of truck stop chain Pilot Flying J have been sentenced in connection with a rebate scam. Former vice president Scott "Scooter" Wombold has been sentenced to six years and former account representative Heather Jones to more than two-and-a-half years. Former company president Mark Hazelwood has already been sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison and fined him $750,000 last month. Pilot Flying J is controlled by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. The Haslams haven't been charged with any wrongdoing.

Franklin County Coroner warns of overdose spike
The coroner for the county that includes Ohio's capital city is again warning of a spike in overdose deaths and encouraging friends and family members of addicts to obtain an overdose antidote. The Franklin County Coroner reported Tuesday seven apparent overdose deaths in 24 hours in greater Columbus. The coroner notes that the antidote drug naloxone is available from pharmacies without a prescription. The coroner recorded a spike of 18 deaths in a week last month.

New nature preserve coming to Cleveland's Slavic Village
A ground breaking is set today for a new nature preserve in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood. The Morgana Bluff Nature Preserve will be located on four acres of the former Worsted Mill, which burned down in 1993. The preserve will include a learning center, which will be split between the Boys and Girls Club and Mound Stem School. It is set to open next fall.

Northeast Ohio Medical University president to retire after 10 years
Nearly 10 years after he was appointed as president of Northeast Ohio Medical University, Dr. Jay Gershen will retire next fall.  Gershen will also discontinue his faculty appointments in the University’s Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy. NEOMED's board of trustees credits Gershen with “unprecedented growth,” and with transitioning the school from a college serving three partner universities to an academic health center and a university with three colleges of its own.

More details found in old Lake Erie ship wreck
Shipwreck hunters think the remains of a schooner discovered in Lake Erie are likely from a sailing ship that went down nearly two centuries ago, making it the oldest ever found in the lake. The National Museum of the Great Lakes says the wreckage's size and its cargo point to it being the ship lost off the Ohio shoreline in 1829. But the museum isn't ready to say it's definitely the ship and says divers will take another look next year to make sure.