Roundtable: Kevin O’Brien, columnist, The Plain Dealer; Bill Livingston, sports columnist, The Plain Dealer; Alex Parker, reporter, Lorain Morning Journal.
Smoking Ban Debate: Voters approved a statewide smoking ban last month, but complaints continue to surface that many establishments have chosen to ignore the ban. State officials say rules governing the ban haven’t been drafted yet and no enforcement is possible until they are. One suburban mayor this week called on the state to speed up the process. Meanwhile, the Browns announced that Browns Stadium will be off-limits to smoking, except in designated areas, starting with this week’s Tampa Bay game.
Trouble for Ex-Politician: Former Lorain County commissioner Michael Ross faces a slew of criminal charges for allegedly taking bribes from contractors. The bribes came as the county sought contractors to building the new Lorain County Justice Center in Elyria. Indicted along with Ross were an Elyria businessman and two contractors accused of offering the bribes.
Coast Guard Holds Fire: The U.S Coast Guard’s guns were jammed by public opinion. It wanted to conduct occasional live-fire exercises on Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. But vehement protests by local officials and the public persuaded the Coast Guard brass to belay the plan for now. But the military is keeping its powder dry. The plan could be revived in different form later on.
Basket-brawl: The NBA suspended seven players following an on-court brawl in the closing minutes of a game between the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden. The league meted out the longest suspension, 15 games, to Carmelo Anthony of the Nuggets who entered the fray late and threw a punch. Now, the league is trying to find out if Knicks coach Isiah Thomas ordered the flagrant foul that touched off the brawl.
Iraq War: President Bush says he still believes the U.S. is going to win the war in Iraq, but he told a White House news conference that the insurgency has made it difficult for U.S. and Iraqi forces to secure the country. The president says he’s considering a “surge” of troops to overwhelm opposition from the insurgents. The Pentagon this week requested another $100-billion ton continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.