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The iOpener: Jackson Unveils Budget; DeWine Halts Executions; State Finds Problems at County Jail

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson in the Red Room at city hall. [Matt Richmond / ideastream]
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson in the Red Room at city hall.

Good morning on this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. You've made it halfway through the week. 

Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson outlined a $1.8 billion budget for 2019 that would keep spending below revenues and provide a $43 million cushion for unexpected economic woes. City councilmembers praised the mayor for stabilizing the city’s finances, but say they want to spend that money on improved services.

Gov. Mike DeWine is halting executions until a different lethal combination of drugs can be found that will pass constitutional muster. DeWine ordered a review of Ohio’s death penalty protocols last month and delayed the Feb. 13 execution of Warren Henness until September, after a federal magistrate judge declared the process would subject a condemned prisoner to “severe pain and needless suffering.” 

At the Associated Press’ annual legislative preview event in Columbus, Gov. DeWine also revealed his support of a gas tax hike in order to raise money for bridge and road repair.  The gas tax has been 28 centers per gallon since 2005.  DeWine did not say how much it should be increased.

After years of favorable reviews, a state inspector found the Cuyahoga County jail out of compliance in numerous areas, including 35 standards violations deemed most serious.  The February report comes after U.S. Marshals found overcrowding and “inhumane conditions” at the jail last fall.  Previous inspections by the state had found no significant problems at the jail. Cuyahoga County executive Armond Budish requested the U.S. Marshals’ review after the deaths of several inmates.     

Scott Coleman is no longer the mayor of Highland HeightsHe submitted a letter of resignation to the community’s police chief following allegations that he embezzled more than $80,000 from Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce’s re-election campaign.  Coleman had been the congressman’s campaign treasurer. Highland Heights council members have said they don't believe that the mayor misused city funds but have called for a special audit anyway. 

The Montreal Canadiens edged the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2.  The victory was Montreal's first since Feb. 4 and ended a four-game skid.

Weather forecast: We’re under a winter weather advisory until 3:00 p.m. as a wintry mix of snow and freezing rain is forecast to spread over Northeast Ohio

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