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Morning Headlines: Final Stage of Cleveland Towpath Work Begins; Brown, Renacci Disagree on Debates

Photo of the vandalized Towpath Trail bridge near Akron

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, July 30:

  • Vice President Mike Pence to campaign for 12th district race;
  • Final stages of Cleveland Towpath begins;
  • Semitrailer driver dies in I-76 crash;
  • Brown, Renacci disgree on debates;
  • Ohio Sen. Portman discusses Russia, Mueller investigation in NBC interview;
  • Inmates injured in transport van crash in Geauga County;
  • Hot air balloon pilot injured in crash at Balloon Classic;
  • Kasich spares record number of death row inmates;

Vice President Mike Pence to campaign for 12th district race

Vice President Mike Pence is coming to Ohio to campaign for a two-term Republican state senator who's in a closer-than-expected race for an open U.S. House seat. Pence plans to attend a campaign event in Newark today for Troy Balderson. Balderson, of Zanesville, is working to retain GOP control of the 12th District that Republicans have held for nearly 35 years. U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, a Republican, retired in January after nearly 18 years. President Trump has tweeted his support for Balderson.

Final stage of Cleveland Towpath Trail begins today

A groundbreaking for one of the final stages of the Towpath Trail in Cleveland takes place Monday afternoon.

The new extension will run less than a mile, from lower Harvard Avenue to Steelyard Commons. But officials at Canalway Partners – the group developing the northern end of the Towpath Trail – say even though the new section is short, it’s been challenging to work on. The area not only includes rough terrain but also potential hazards from its previous industrial use. When completed, the new section of the Towpath Trail will link to another section being constructed that runs nearly two miles to Tremont. The groundbreaking ceremony is at 1 p.m. at Steelyard Commons, and visitors are encouraged to B-Y-O-S: "Bring Your Own Shovel."

Semitrailer driver dies in I-76 crash

The driver a semitrailer died after the vehicle overturned on I-76 yesterday. Kenneth Ours, 55, of Akron was heading east on I-76 near Tallmadge when the truck travelled off the road and went down an embankment. Police say Ours tried to drive the vehicle back onto the road and it overturned. Police closed a portion of I-76 for several hours following the crash.

Ohio U.S. Senate candidates disagree on debates

There appears to be disagreement over debates between the two candidates in Ohio's upcoming U.S. Senate race. Over the weekend, incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown's campaign announced three debates have been scheduled with Republican challenger Jim Renacci — in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. However, a Renacci spokesman replied to a Columbus Dispatch tweet on social media, saying nothing's been finalized, including the locations and said in a statement that Brown "went rogue." Brown's campaign says it stands by its announcement.

Ohio Sen. Portman talks Russia, Mueller investigation in NBC interview

Ohio Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman addressed a number of topics during an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press." Portman said he supports Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. And he said he believes the Robert Mueller investigation into 2016 election interference is important, but needs to wrap up. And, on Russia, Portman said he doesn’t agree with President Trump’s controversial comments following the recent summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, but is pleased with the administration's policies against Russia and is calling for more sanctions.

Inmates injured in transport van crash in Geauga County

The State Highway Patrol says an inmate transport van struck an unoccupied, disabled vehicle on the side of a road in northeastern Ohio and four inmates were injured. The patrol says the crash in Geauga County occurred around 1:30 a.m. Sunday in Troy Township. Patrol officials say the inmates were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No law enforcement officials were injured. Authorities say alcohol and drugs were not factors in the crash.

Hot air balloon pilot injured in crash at Balloon Classic

The pilot of a hot air balloon was injured after crashing into power lines in Canton last night. The Beacon Journal reports the pilot had to make an emergency landing after the balloon drifted off course. Another hot air balloon had made a safe crash landing earlier in the day. They were participating in the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Balloon Classic.

Kasich spares record number of death row inmates

Gov. John Kasich has finished dealing with executions for the remainder of his time in office following a modern-era record of death penalty commutations. The Republican governor spared seven men from execution during his two terms in office, including commutations on March 26 and July 20. Kasich allowed 15 executions to proceed, including the July 18 execution of Robert Van Hook. Not since Democrat Mike DiSalle spared six death row inmates in the early 1960s has an Ohio governor spared so many killers during periods when the state had an active death chamber. DiSalle allowed six executions to proceed. Democratic Gov. Richard Celeste commuted eight death sentences just days before leaving office in 1991, but none of those inmates' executions was imminent.

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