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Akron's mayor-elect to give more details on histask force
Top stories: Proposed change in Cuyahoga County's courts; Congress wants faster results to keep Asian carp our of Great Lakes; feds put new restrictions on $71 million grant for Ohio charters
by WKSU's CORY YORK


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Cory York
 
During his campaign, Horrigan promised he'd appoint a task force to drill down on city operations.
Courtesy of File photo, M.L. SCHULTZE
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Morning headlines for Thursday, November 6, 2015:
  • Akron's mayor-elect to give more details on financial task force
  • Proposed change in Cuyahoga County's courts
  • Congress wants faster results to keep Asian carp our of Great Lakes
  • Feds put new restrictions on $71 million grant for Ohio charters
  • UAW votes today on the new GM contract
  • Chatter to legalize medical marijuana picking up in Ohio House
  • Gov. Kasich heading back to New Hampshire
  • Attorney of a convicted Akron police captain wants new trial
  • Convicted Cuyahoga Commissioner's evidence goes public
  • Akron's mayor-elect to give more details on his task force
    Akron’s newly elected mayor plans to provide details this morning on a task force he’s appointing to recommend ways to improve the city’s finances, diversity, economic development and quality of life. Dan Horrigan repeatedly said during the campaign that he would establish the task force to get a variety of perspectives on ways to improve City Hall. The Democrat easily won Tuesday’s election and has set up a transition office. On Jan. 1 he'll become Akron’s first new elected mayor in 28 years.

    Proposed change in Cuyahoga County's courts
    Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish is proposing changes in the county’s courts that he says would make them fairer and could save $1 million a year. According to Cleveland.com, people who can't afford a lawyer would no longer spend weeks in jail waiting to be arraigned on felonies. Right now, people who can’t afford to make bond stay in jail awaiting grand jury action. Budish’s changes would set up risk assessments that would be reviewed by a judge to decide if the case should remain a misdemeanor or sets a lower bond.

    Congress wants faster results to keep Asian carp our of Great Lakes
    Members of Congress are prodding federal officials to work faster on technological roadblocks to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes through Chicago-area waterways. About 20 members of the House and Senate, including Ohio’s Marcy Kaptur, discussed the situation yesterday with the Coast Guard, EPA and other federal agencies working to protect the lakes from the invasive carp. Lawmakers are concerned about a recent discovery that the leading edge of the Illinois River's juvenile silver carp population has moved 66 miles closer to Lake Michigan this year. The Army Corps of Engineers officials reported it could take four years to develop new technologies to halt the carps' advance at a crucial lock-and-dam choke point in Illinois.

    Feds put new restrictions on $71 million grant for Ohio charters
    The U.S. Department of Education says it didn’t realize the extent of the problems plaguing Ohio’s charter schools and is restricting Ohio’s use of $71 million in federal grants for the schools. The restrictions – outlined in a letter to Ohio Superintendent Richard Ross this week -- include requiring approval from Washington before any of the grant money can be spent. The letter says the feds initially believed Ohio could properly track the spending but has since received more information that “raises continuing concerns.” It wants Ohio to answer questions about whether its grant application included dated, inaccurate or misleading information. Among those who raised questions is Ohio’s Republican Auditor David Yost, who’s special audit of charters found inflated enrollment and other problems. The state’s head of oversight of charter schools abruptly quit this summer after admitting he deleted failing charter schools from his evaluations Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan had called for the stricter federal scrutiny of how the money is spent.

    UAW votes today on the new GM contract
    GM workers – including about 3,000 at the Lordstown plant, started voting this morning on a new four-year contract with the automaker. Local UAW leaders have endorsed the deal, which gradually eliminates a two-tier wage system between new and older hires. The contract also will increase traditional workers to a top hourly wage of $29 over four years and includes an $8,000 signing bonus. According to the Toledo Blade and Detroit Free Pless, ratification votes at other GM plants has been mixed. Voting is expected to conclude Friday.

    Chatter to legalize medical marijuana picking up in Ohio House
    The leader of the Ohio House says legalizing marijuana for medical use has some support within his Republican caucus and lawmakers are taking a serious look at the issue after voters rejected a separate, broader legalization proposal. House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger told reporters yesterday that his caucus is still getting organized as to how to proceed. He says he expects to have more details in the coming weeks about a series of resolutions and legislative steps on medical marijuana. The Southwest Ohio Republican says proposals would include urging the federal government to lower marijuana to a less strict schedule of drug designations, along with providing support for clinical trials and engaging the medical community. He says a pilot program to allow certain people to use the substance also is under discussion.

    Gov. Kasich heading back to New Hampshire
    Ohio Gov. John Kasich is back on the campaign trail this week as he tries to gain some traction in the race for the White House. Kasich's campaign says he's returning to the early primary state of New Hampshire for campaign stops on today and Friday, when he plans to file for the primary ballot in Concord in between town hall meetings. He campaigned in Mississippi on Wednesday. The primary is Feb. 9.

    Attorney of a convicted Akron police captain wants new trial
    Attorneys for a former Akron police captain in prison since 1998 are arguing again in hearings in Akron that their client deserves a new trial because there's no physical evidence tying him to the slaying of his ex-wife. Douglas Prade is serving a sentence of 26 years to life for killing Dr. Margo Prade. He’s challenged bite mark and other evidence in the case.

    Convicted Cuyahoga commissioner's evidence goes public
    Wiretaps and other evidence used to convict former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora – once one of the most powerful politicians in Ohio – will be released this morning. They’ve been under seal since Dimora’s corruption trial in 2012 and he tried – and failed – this week to keep it that way. He argued in a handwritten note that news outlets would use the tapes to “perform character assassination" and to humiliate his family. Dimora is serving 28 years in federal prison.
     
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