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Ohio


Cleveland police officers testify before grand jury in Tamir Rice case
Top stories: National report card shows large gains for Cleveland Metro Schools; Power outages closes schools; Bill to avert unintended tax increases clears Ohio Legislature
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and CORY YORK


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Morning headlines for Wednesday, October 28, 2015:

  • Cleveland police officers testify before grand jury in Tamir Rice case
  • National report card shows large gains for Cleveland Metro Schools
  • Power outages closes two Akron schools
  • Bill to avert unintended tax increases clears Ohio Legislature
  • Conservative nonprofit buys $1 million in TV ads in Ohio
  • NAACP group urges voters to oppose Issue 3
  • Ex-Ohio prosecutor suspended from practicing law
  • Ohio-led project on science curriculum gets $10 million from NASA
  • Nearly 150,000 ballots cast ahead of Tuesday's election  
  • Cleveland police officers testify before grand jury in Tamir Rice case
    The head of Cleveland's biggest police union says officers have been testifying before a grand jury about the fatal shooting by a white officer of a 12-year-old black boy carrying a pellet gun last November. Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, says that officers testified about the Tamir Rice case last week and on Monday. Loomis wouldn't discuss the officers' testimony but says an attorney accompanied them and they've "cooperated fully." The grand jury will decide whether criminal charges should be filed against then-rookie patrolman Timothy Loehmann, who shot Rice within two seconds, or Loehmann's training officer and the driver of the cruiser.

    National report card shows large gains for Cleveland Metro Schools
    Cleveland Metro Schools is one of three districts across the nation to improve in all four sections in this year's national report card. The National Assessment of Educational Progress or N.A.E.P. looks at scores in subjects such as math and reading. The report shows Cleveland had the second largest increase in the nation in reading and fourth largest gain in math. While the improvement is a step in the right direction, just 11 percent of students are at the appropriate reading level.

    Power outages closes schools
    Akron Public Schools has closed Betty Jane Elementary and Windermere Elementary today due to power outages, according to WKYC. FirstEnergy reports scattered outages due to high winds throughout the region this morning. Find the latest power outages here.

    Bill to avert unintended tax increases clears Ohio Legislature
    A bill that seeks to avert an unintended tax increase on some small businesses has cleared the Ohio Legislature. The House passed the budget-correcting measure Tuesday, and senators then gave their final approval. The bill now heads to Gov. John Kasich for his expected signature. Supporters say the legislation will ensure that no taxpayer will pay a higher marginal tax rate on business income for the 2015 taxable year than he or she otherwise would have paid if the state budget had not been enacted. The bill also seeks to restore some money that schools lost in a tax change vetoed from the budget by Kasich. School districts affected by the lost tangible personal property tax reimbursement could see an estimated $44 million.

    Conservative nonprofit buys $1 million in Ohio ads 
    A conservative nonprofit linked to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has bought $850,000 in television ads across Ohio favoring a jobs bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Rob Portman. The One Nation spots will air for 10 days starting today on broadcast and cable stations in cities including Cleveland. The group was launched in May to highlight practical Senate legislation, with McConnell's encouragement. Two Democrats are facing off to challenge Portman in Ohio in 2016: former Gov. Ted Strickland and Cincinnati councilman P.G. Sittenfeld.

    NAACP group urges voters to oppose Issue 3
    The group representing NAACP branches in Ohio is urging voters to oppose a proposal on next week's ballot to legalize marijuana for medical and personal use. The Ohio Conference NAACP president said Tuesday that legalization would represent "tacit approval" of a drug with potentially far-reaching negative effects on families and children. The proposed constitutional amendment, Issue 3, would create a network of 10 authorized growing locations. Tuesday's announcement marks a split among Ohio's top black leadership. Issue 3 was endorsed by George Forbes, former president of the city council and NAACP in Cleveland. He says blacks have been disproportionately affected by a failed war on drugs.

    Ex-Ohio prosecutor suspended from practicing law
    A former assistant prosecutor accused of prosecutorial misconduct involving an altered indictment is suspended from practicing law for a year in Ohio. The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended Jason Phillabaum. The court rejected its disciplinary board's recommendation of a one-year suspension with six months stayed if Phillabaum didn't engage in further misconduct. The board found the former Butler County assistant prosecutor knowingly made a false statement to a tribunal, engaged in dishonesty, fraud or deceit or misrepresentation and prejudiced administration of justice by causing gun specifications that weren't presented to grand jurors to be added to an indictment in a court case. Phillabaum didn't immediately return to a call to his Cincinnati law office Tuesday. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to a misdemeanor count of dereliction of duty.

    Ohio-led project on science curriculum gets $10 million from NASA
    A geography professor from the University of Toledo in Ohio will lead an initiative to improve science education under a $10 million grant from NASA. The goal is a project-based curriculum in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that fosters hands-on learning for younger students through problem-solving. Professor Kevin Czajkowski is leading the effort. He tells The Blade newspaper that research shows students learn more from doing projects than merely reading information or completing worksheets. The Toledo team is working with several other universities, a San Francisco research and service agency and technology company Raytheon. NASA's Langley Research Center will provide satellite data that can be used by students to validate their work. The group is one of 27 teams sharing in a total of $42 million awarded by NASA.

    Nearly 150,000 ballots cast ahead of Tuesday's election
    The state's elections chief says roughly 149,000 Ohioans have cast their ballots ahead of Tuesday's election and more than 328,000 absentee ballots have been requested. Secretary of State Jon Husted's office says that as of last Friday, about 55,000 residents had voted in person and about 94,000 cast ballots by mail. Voters will decide the fate of three statewide ballot initiatives on Election Day. One would legalize marijuana for medical reasons and recreational use, while another seeks to prevent monopolies from being inserted into the state constitution. A separate measure would overhaul how state legislative districts are drawn. More than 1,700 local issues also are on the ballot. Husted says fewer than 333,000 voters cast absentee ballots in 2013, when there were no statewide questions before voters.

     
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