Ohio Senate bills compete for the future of red light cameras
Two bills in the Ohio Senate are competing for the future of red light cameras. Opponents say one introduced last week would would effectively ban red light cameras, as it would require an officer to be present viewing the cameras for the citations to be valid. The competing bill introduced yesterday would not not require an officer to be present but does require an officer to review the images before issuing a ticket. In February, a state appeals court panel ruled Cleveland’s cameras are unconstitutional. The city is appealing the ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court.
More than 150 Ohio National Guard members to deploy to Afghanistan
The state adjutant general's office says the mission for an Ohio Army National Guard unit deploying to Afghanistan will include helping to tear down military operating posts. A call to duty ceremony is planned Thursday for more than 150 soldiers from the 1191st Engineer Company, located in Portsmouth in southern Ohio. They'll train in Texas, then deploy to Afghanistan. This week President Barack Obama announced plans for keeping nearly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after this year but then withdrawing virtually all by the close of 2016 and the conclusion of his presidency.
Cleveland teachers protest at school board meeting
A few hundred Cleveland teachers protested planned firings at last night’s school board meeting. They are unhappy that over 60 teachers on one-year contracts may be let go after they failed to meet teaching goals. However, after retirements and appeals, only 17 will not be rehired. The teachers are also angry that the school plans to spend about 400,000 dollars to hire Teach for America fellows. These recent college graduates take a rapid course in teaching before being placed in classrooms.
State Highway Patrol reports fewer fatalities over Memorial Day weekend
Fewer people lost their lives on Ohio roadways over the Memorial Day weekend this year compared with 2013. The Ohio State Highway Patrol says 13 people lost their lives during the Friday through Monday holiday weekend. That is five fewer than last year. The patrol says three of the fatalities this year were related to drunken driving. The patrol's roughly 750 arrests for impaired driving were a 7 percent increase from 2013. Citations for seat-belt violations increased 19 percent.
Cleveland police seek witnesses in four holiday weekend homicides
Cleveland Police are looking for witnesses of the four separate homicides over Memorial Day weekend. Three of the killings occurred within four hours on Sunday. Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said during a press conference Tuesday that one shooting was at a block party with at least 300 people in attendance, but he hinted the police were still having trouble finding cooperative witnesses. Williams also called the violence an unusual outbreak and that the city is increasing its number of officers on the streets this summer.
Renewable energy standards freeze clears House committee
A contentious bill delaying the phase-in of Ohio's renewable energy and efficiency standards has cleared a key legislative panel. The House Public Utilities Committee approved the measure Tuesday, sending it to the full House. The Senate has passed it. The proposal addresses targets for how much energy Ohio utilities must generate from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, by 2025. Opponents including advanced-energy companies, civil-rights leaders and environmentalists have lobbied hard against the two-year pause in the standards negotiated by Gov. John Kasich and senators.
Cuyahoga County kindergartners get $100 savings accounts
Cuyahoga County has put $100 into bank accounts for 10,000 public school kindergartners to encourage them and their parents to save for college. County Executive Ed FitzGerald says it is the largest such program in the country. He says accounts will be created for 15,000 more public and private school kindergartners this fall. The accounts are being seeded with county money. Voters approved a county charter in 2009 that called for establishing a countywide education fund. Parents are being mailed information explaining the program and how they can contribute to the accounts, which are maintained at KeyBank.