It’s going to be brisk today, with highs staying in the mid-20s, but skies are expected to clear as the day progresses. It will be very chilly overnight as temps drop into the mid-teens with mostly clear skies. Read more.
Carjackings: Former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Justin Herdman on Tuesday told the Senate Judiciary Committee that carjackings in Cleveland have increased by more than 50 percent from 2019 through 2021 and said the crime poses “outsized risks to the public” because of the level of force involved. Sabrina Eaton reports that Herdman said a large percentage of carjackers are teenagers, citing last March’s arrest of 10 teens ranging in ages from 14 to 19 years old charged in a series of 30 armed carjackings and other violent robberies.
Special events: Mayor Justin Bibb has pulled back on Mayor Frank Jackson’s plan to reorganize the city office that coordinates special events like parades, filming, and last month’s NBA All-Star Game, Courtney Astolfi reports. Jackson sought to create a larger Division of Special Events and Marketing to replace a smaller office that handles events coordination. But city Law Director Mark Griffin said Jackson failed to properly establish the division, prompting Bibb to undo some of the procedural steps Jackson took to get it up and running.
Redistricting: Ohio Republicans have approved a revised congressional map, setting the plan up for a likely new round of legal challenges that could further complicate the state’s already deeply flawed preparations for the May 3 primary election. Andrew Tobias reports the map is a slightly revised version of a map Republicans introduced on Tuesday, with 10 of Ohio’s 15 congressional districts favoring the GOP.
The latest congressional map proposed by the Ohio Redistricting Commission favors Republicans to win 10 of Ohio’s 15 congressional districts. Two of the five Democratic-leaning districts — anchored by Cincinnati and Toledo — are hotly competitive, making them more accurately thought of as toss-ups. We’re talking about whether the maps are constitutional on Today in Ohio, cleveland.com’s daily half-hour news podcast.
Gun bill: Ohio lawmakers on Wednesday advanced legislation to allow people in the state to carry a concealed handgun without a permit or training and no longer require them to proactively tell law enforcement during traffic stops that they’re armed. Jeremy Pelzer reports Senate Bill 215, which passed the Ohio House, 57-35, now heads back to the Senate for a concurrence vote before it can go to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk.
Abortion bill: A Hamilton County judge granted a temporary restraining order Wednesday from the state enforcing a new anti-abortion bill that could close down the last remaining clinics in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas, Laura Hancock reports. Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Alison Hatheway found that the enforcement of Senate Bill 157 violates plaintiff Women’s Med Dayton’s due-process rights.
Nomination blocked: U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas on Wednesday renewed his refusal let the U.S. Senate consider nominations of several Justice Department nominees, including Marisa Darden to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. Cotton also stopped the nominations from moving forward last month and said he would continue to do so until the Justice Department starts paying the bills for the deputy U.S. Marshals who are being sued over their conduct in protecting a U.S. Courthouse from rioters, or until it explains why it won’t pay, Sabrina Eaton reports.
Public pensions: Attorney General Dave Yost requested Ohio’s public employee pension systems divest their holdings from Russian investments as part of the response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Seth Richardson reports that in a letter to directors of the five pension systems in Ohio, Yost said the state had a moral obligation to support the people of Ukraine. Russia launched a full-scale military invasion into the Eastern European country last week.
Medical marijuana: The Ohio House passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would allow patients with autism spectrum disorder to legally obtain medical marijuana. Laura Hancock reports House Bill 60 passed, 73-13. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Rader running: Lakewood City Council member Tristan Rader is running for Congress. He just doesn’t know where. Rader is not sure which district he’ll run in because Ohio’s congressional map boundaries aren’t final, Sabrina Eaton reports. But he says he has no interest in challenging incumbent Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur.
Whistleblowers: After more than two years of discussion, Cuyahoga County Council is preparing to vote on revisions meant to strengthen its whistleblower policy, reports Kaitlin Durbin. But at least one member wants to replace language in the policy that says employees “shall” report wrongdoing, which made reporting mandatory, with “may” report wrongdoing, which only recommends it.
Mask requirements: Employees and visitors will no longer be required to wear a mask in Cuyahoga County buildings, reports Kaitlin Durbin. County Executive Armond Budish signed an executive order lifting the mask mandate inside county properties in most circumstances and eliminating temperature scans for entry. The order notes exceptions for nurses working with immuno-compromised individuals and employees with the sheriff’s department, which has its own rules. Visitors to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court also are no longer required to wear a mask, reports Cory Shaffer.
MetroHealth: MetroHealth’s Buckeye Health Center encouraged patients to come to their appointments by providing wraparound services that meet patient needs beyond medical care, and no-shows declined from 50% to 30%. Robert Higgs reports the hospital now plans to incorporate the model into an affordable housing complex the hospital is building at its main campus. A variety of wraparound services will be housed in the 72-unit Via Sana apartment building, a $15 million project under construction adjacent to the hospital system’s main campus.
Bibb cabinet: Jeff Epstein’s vast responsibilities at City Hall represent some of Cleveland’s most deep-seated problems and some of its greatest opportunities when it comes to housing, quality of life, and collective prosperity. Courtney Astolfi interviews Mayor Justin Bibb’s chief integrated development officer, a reimagined cabinet position that seeks to improve the way the city handles economic and community development, urban planning, and building and housing.
CMHA: Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority has plans to renovate a nine-story, 173-unit apartment building in the city’s Union-Miles neighborhood over the next year. Eric Heisig reports the public housing agency will spend $1.3 million on repairs and renovations at Union Square, 3495 E. 98th St.
Food bank: Harvest for Hunger kicks off its 31st annual 21-county food collection campaign virtually and in-person today. Alexis Oatman reports the money raised provides food to hundreds of hot meal sites, food pantries, shelters, and other non-profit agencies throughout Northeast Ohio. Last year, the campaign raised over $2.4 million.
CWRU commencement: Mayor Justin Bibb will deliver the commencement address this spring for Case Western Reserve University’s class of 2022, reports Courtney Astolfi. Bibb, who earned law and master’s in business administration degrees from CWRU four years ago, will also deliver remarks for a separate graduation ceremony for law school students.
Hospital count: Wednesday marked the first time in nearly eight months that fewer than 1,000 patients in Ohio were hospitalized with COVID-19, reports Zachary Smith.
Daily cases: The state of Ohio on Wednesday reported 1,171 new cases of COVID-19, making it the 19th straight day under 2,500, reports Julie Washington.
Kroger: Kroger is eyeing a return to Northeast Ohio with a new fulfillment center in Cuyahoga County. The grocery chain has stores in Mansfield and Sandusky, but hasn’t had a retail store in Greater Cleveland in decades. Sean McDonnell reports the company is set to submit a proposal to the Ohio Tax Credit Authority for a 270,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Oakwood that will cost about $100 million.
Huntington Building: The developer behind a planned transformation of the 1.4 million-square-foot former Huntington Building in downtown Cleveland was awarded a $40 million tax credit through a new program designed to help projects that could become major economic drivers, reports Eric Heisig.
Tax credits: Separate companies in Cleveland and Wadsworth on Wednesday were granted Ohio tax credits for expansion plans in the two cities that include the creation of 251 jobs. Sean McDonnell reports Alexander Mann Solutions, a staffing and recruiting company in Cleveland, plans to add 153 full-time employees, while ECS Tuning, a automotive parts distributor in Wadsworth, expects to hire 98 people.
Financial fraud: Investors who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement funds said Wednesday that a Westlake financial adviser lied to them by failing to disclose where he steered their savings. John Caniglia reports the investors testified in the federal trial of Raymond Erker, who is accused of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, and money laundering. He is accused of siphoning $9.3 million from 54 people, most of whom were retired, from about 2013 to July 2018.
Fish fries: Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and the start of fish-fry season. Things are getting back to normal this season after two years of upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic. See the master list of fish fries from Marc Bona and Anne Nickoloff.
NYC bound: Actor Christine McBurney has accomplished a lot in her 25 years in the Cleveland theater scene, as a director, teacher, professor, chair of the Shaker Heights High School theater arts department and co-founder and co-artistic director of the Mamaí Theatre Company. Joey Morona reports that now, at age 56, she is moving to New York City to pursue her dream.
17-year-old girl dies two weeks after Valentine’s Day shooting in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood Read more
Cleveland FBI arrests Bucyrus man, says he collected, shared child sexual-abuse material Read more
Federal jury convicts Lorain man of dealing fentanyl, other drugs Read more
Brooklyn police, retailers crack down on shoplifting Read more
North Olmsted applying for CDBG funding to repave West 231st Street Read more
Inspiring Eagles: North Olmsted High School starts peer-monitoring program Read more
Electric vehicle drivers will need to plug in their credit cards to plug in for charging at Lakewood stations Read more
Lakewood mayor digs into city’s snow-removal policies Read more
Parma Heights Fire Station undergoing emergency masonry project to avoid ‘catastrophic failure’ Read more
Parma tapping into ARPA funds for $2 million in sewer improvement projects Read more
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