Spencer Platt/Getty Image(MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.) -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio's attorneys said Saturday they plan to appeal a federal judge's finding that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, helmed by Arpaio, racially profiled Latinos while on immigration patrols.
Complaints of deputies pulling over and singling out people who are dark skinned and...
iStockphoto/ThinkStock(SAN ANTONIO, Tex.) -- Record rainfall hitting the city of San Antonio, Texas, in the past 24 hours is causing widespread flooding, with at least one confirmed death.
The National Weather Service says the city airport recorded about 10 inches of rain in 12 hours, breaking several records.
“It set a new daily record, not...
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images(MOUNT VERNON, Wash.) -- The trucker whose oversized load bumped the steel framework of a Washington State bridge just before it collapsed will be interviewed today by investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, who are on the scene working to determine the cause of the collapse.
Three people were sent...
Edward "Ed" Esposito is vice-president, information media for the Rubber City Radio Group. He oversees news and public affairs programs for www.AkronNewsNow.com, 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE and 94.9 WQMX. He is Secretary-Treasurer of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation; a former chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation and a former president of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Association. He's also served as a member of the Akron Press Club , Kent State University Student Media Advisory Board, Ohio Open Government Coalition, Northeast Ohio AMBER Task Force. He's lectured on broadcasting and journalism for the University of Missouri in China, as well as across the country for RTDNA and RTDNF. You can reach Ed through the newsroom at 330-864-6397 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Justice is supposed to be blind; there is no guarantee, however, that she lost her sense of smell.
Too bad, because what's been going on in the Akron Municipal Court system stinks.
As documented by the Akron Beacon Journal's Phil Trexler three times last week, first bringing to light the sudden resignation of Magistrate Orlando Williams and refusal by court officials to be transparent and open, even to the point of refusing to release Williams' salary.
The second story provided the viewpoint of soon-to-be former Magistrate Williams, who denied any inappropriate relationship with a tenant involved in a rent dispute that came before him. Then again, there was also the bit of dash-cam video (embed video linked below) where the tenant in question tells a state highway patrol officer during a DUI arrest less than 60 days they should call her "boyfriend" -- the "judge."
Last, but not least, four of the Akron Municipal Court's judges voted (apparently with little consultation with two of the other judges, who happen to be from the other political party) to oust, without much explanation, the 12-year court administrator Kenneth Kuckuck. Upon dismissal he thanked two judges, one Republican Lynn Callahan and the other Democrat Carla Moore, for first giving him the job. Callahan is now a Common Pleas Judge; Moore serves on the Ohio Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
This comes ahead of next week's scheduled appearance on failure to control a motor vehicle of public defender Catherine Loya who was caught, according to a police report, in an embarrassing situation with the Municipal Court Judge who's courtroom she was assigned to. The failure to control charge was filed because, to the good fortune of the public defender, she declined the task of a breathalyzer test when caught in the car with her friend the Judge. At least Judge Joy Malek Oldfield had the good sense to admit she'd been drinking and wasn't behind the wheel.
There was considerable lag-time in recognizing the potential conflict of interest posed by having a defense lawyer under disability (she couldn't drive a car because of the charge) continuing to present cases in front of the very same judge involved in the case who was now driving her to work. Eventually even the most tone-deaf at the Justice Center realized there were just some things they couldn't let pass. Loya was reassigned; the ethics of the entire situation spurred plenty of comment and debate. Loya's case is on schedule to be heard in Barberton Municipal Court soon, but one could ask why it takes from the arrest (February 5th) until the summer (the week of July 16th) to get the issue settled. Is five months the typical timeline any of us regular folk could expect from the court system?
Are you at the point yet of wondering just who's in charge of the Akron Municipal Court? I sure am, and wondering just why the business of the closest-to-the-people branch of Ohio's judicial system is so closed off to the public.
There are plenty of questions but first let's remember the judicial system should be one where we can trust those engaged in the process are impartial to all but the truth; their mission is to help find right from wrong, to decide cases in a fair and straightforward manner, and avoid the appearance of impropriety.
We expect worse from the legislative and executive branch of government, where the politics is practiced more openly. It's a primary reason why politicians of every stripe rank so incredibly low in public polls. We in the media rank higher, but not by much.
We expect better from those either elected in Ohio (as Municipal Court, Common Pleas Court, District Appeals Courts or Supreme Court judges) and we should have an expectation of the same from those appointed to act with the power of the people in an un-elected but appointed capacity, such as Magistrates.
In the case of the goings-on recently in the Akron Municipal Court district, the courtroom looks more like Delta Tau Chi made famous in "Animal House."
The sudden resignation of Magistrate Williams, under a cloud of allegations he provided favorable treatment to one party over the other, has unleashed more than one complaint from others that they were treated in a similar manner. One commentary online even noted he lost his case despite the other party not even showing up for a hearing. Others complained they, too, were treated unfairly and without regard to the law and had to go through a costly appeals process to find the justice that seemed book-ready. To not make public Magistrate Williams' personnel files, or concerns of his administration wielding the same power as a judge, hammers directly at the faith citizens must have in the judicial process.
The Akron Bar Association cloaks it's investigations of such matters in privacy to protect the reputations of judges and lawyers who, not surprisingly, are often the targets of false allegations. In this case, however, involving a sitting magistrate appointed through the political process of judges and not the public, a more transparent handling of the case is in order.
At the very least the presiding judge of Akron Municipal Court, Judge Annalisa S. Williams, should order a review of Magistrate Williams' cases to determine if the appearance shown in the back-rent eviction case of defendant/aquaintance/girlfriend/mentor (take your pick) Ashley Boykin is the only public example of questionable justice. Judge Williams or the Ohio Supreme Court should step in and order an investigation by competent legal minds who don't have political ties to the Delta Tau house in Akron.
The voters of the Akron Municipal Court district have a right to know why the administrator who was competent enough to win the support of respected jurists such as Moore and Callahan a dozen years ago has now become so persona non grata that he was dismissed, without notice, following a Star Chamber-like decision made by the members of the political club within the muni court judge's wing. Can you imagine the outrage if members of the Appeals or Supreme Court held meetings, withheld information, and voted on the administration of the courts while excluding those duly-elected representatives from the opposition? Imagine Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, herself a veteran of these Summit County courthouse wars, pulling a stunt like this with Justice Yvette McGee Brown shut out from the process.
Unfortunately, municipal court systems designed to be the primary stop for non-felony offenders and small claims disputes appears to have become ensnared in the petty political maneuvering between Democrats and Republicans in Summit County. Unelected magistrates operate by appointment, with these plum $90,000 a year assignments often offering little in the way of enforced standards of high performance other than the handprint of party bosses awarding patronage to prospective candidates moving up the food chain or loyal soldiers willing to put their names on a ballot in the general election wars. Elected municipal court positions seem to function as the minor league farm system for politically-astute lawyers who are always keeping an eye on what's available in the greener pastures of the Courthouse. The judicial system is in danger of becoming nothing more than a mirror to the self-interest we see in other political offices.
At least when we elect judges in the Municipal, Common Pleas, Appeals and Supreme Courts they are accountable to the people. Magistrates are only accountable to the lords and ladies of the court above them, shielded from accountability until the light of publicity from an enterprising reporter uncovers the appearance of wrongdoing. It's far past the time for the adults to step back in to the room and wrest back control of the courts before they do more permanent damage and we find ourselves losing faith in yet another government institution.
The news Friday came as a shock; Akron restaurant owner Josephine "Ann" Harris passed away just hours after meeting President Barack Obama, who'd stopped by her "Ann's Place" for a quick breakfast on the campaign trail.
Normally any presidential visit brings with it the phrase Andy Warhol coined: "...everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes..." and indeed, in Ann's case, she was not only famous for meeting President Obama in the parking lot of her restaurant. She became famous as well for her passing of natural causes a short time later.
In this political environment today where men and women wearing thousand dollar suits make big money as pundits for calling each other names, at a time when the political discourse between candidates often boil down to each calling the other liars or scoundrels, it is perhaps natural to fear the type of punditry some expected to follow the sad news. "Watch this get twisted" was one comment I saw on Facebook; "Watch and listen to the wing nuts go to town with this one" was another. Given the type of rhetoric that passes for debate, those fears weren't out of the question.
There was some of that on Facebook posts, but not much. A talk radio station here in the Akron area even tried the next day to insinuate the President hadn't called with condolences. He did. They must have missed that note everyone else saw that Mr. Obama called the family from Air Force One upon hearing the news. For the most part an odd thing happened in the nasty circle of the political sphere after the news.
No trying to link the death of a woman who'd suffered from recent health problems to the future of Obamacare on Fox; no trying to link the need for health care reform from MSNBC. No graphics from the New York Times showing a death curve based on meeting politicians; none of the type of invective we've almost come to expect from those who push every boundary of good taste to try and make an obvious political point. Straight reporting and overwhelmingly an outpouring of thoughts and prayers for a woman who's brush with fame wasn't enough to overwrite the humanity of the loss her family and friends are feeling.
The passing of Josephine "Ann" Harris was carried around the world, more than 8500 references in a Google search just 48 hours later. That certainly qualified for Warhol's description of one's 15 minutes. And for Ann Harris it followed what was, by all accounts, a moment in her life that just about topped all others.
Ann Harris got what many of us know, despite any political differences, is a wonderful moment in her life: she got to meet a President, and it sure didn't hurt it was one she liked and supported. "She loved Obama," her daughter told us. It was enough to get her to leave her home where she had been recovering from a series of stroke and heart attacks and it was enough to have him greet her as she drove up to the restaurant she'd poured her heart and soul into for three decades. Her family said it was the best moment of her life, "the highlight" said her sister to the Akron Beacon Journal.
It doesn't take a pundit to see why.
Reaction was swift to the passing of Josephine Ann Harris, 70, the owner of Ann's Place on South Hawkins. Her death made national headlines because just hours before she was pronounced dead at Akron General she was getting a hug from President Obama.
The President's bus tour stopped at the restaurant. He actually arrived before she did, but family members were close behind bringing Harris to the restaurant so she could meet the President. Harris had been suffering from ill health since February, said family members, with a series of stroke and heart attacks. The President event left the restaurant to personally greet Harris upon her arrival in the parking lot.
Mr. Obama called Harris' daughter to offer his personal condolences. White House press secretary Jay Carney offered a statement to reporters as the President wrapped up his campaign bus trip in Pittsburgh and boarded Air Force One for the trip back to Washington, calling the news "very sad" and adding the entire family was in the President's "thoughts and prayers."
- - -
(White House statement)
MR. CARNEY: Thank you for your patience. I'll do a brief gaggle. We were waiting because the President just got off the phone with Wilma Parsons, who is the daughter of Ann Harris -- Josephine Ann Harris -- who was the owner of Ann's Restaurant. I think you all saw the report, the very sad news that Ann passed away this afternoon. And you know the President met with her at the restaurant -- she actually wasn’t there when he arrived, but she came with some other members of her family, and he met with her I think after the pool had left.
So the President expressed his sorrow and his condolences at the very sad event. He was honored to meet her this morning and passed on his feelings that the whole family is in his thoughts and prayers today.
MS. PSAKI: And also there's a statement that's going out as we speak from the Ohio campaign, from their state director, Greg Schultz. I'm just going to read it here:
We're extremely saddened by Ann's sudden passing this morning. Our sincere condolences go to Ann's family during this difficult time. As a small business owner, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and a friend of many throughout the community, Ann led an exceptional life and will be missed by all who knew her. Ann and her family are in our thoughts and prayers.
Q Is there any concern that the President was in danger of having been food-poisoned or anything like that?
MR. CARNEY: No. No.
Q I mean, somebody dies in a restaurant where the President was --
MR. CARNEY: She wasn’t even in the restaurant. She met with him outside -- she drove up to the restaurant. But, no, there was never -- I mean, obviously you can address questions about the President's security to the Secret Service, but, no, that was not a concern here. Based on the press reports, I believe it was a heart attack. She was -- my understanding is that she had not been well.
Just an hour after serving breakfast to President Obama -- the owner of an Akron restaurant is dead.
Reporters going to Ann's Place in Akron to follow up on the President's choice of breakfast this morning were stunned to learn the restaurant's owner, Josephine "Ann" Harris, 70, died after meeting with him over eggs, bacon and wheat toast. She complained of fatigue and a tingling feeling shortly after the visit by the President and was taken to Akron General, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner. She died about an hour after serving Mr. Obama on the second day of his bus campaign through Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
The death was was pronounced at 11:18 a.m. at Akron General. While a specific cause of death hasn't been confirmed, a spokesperson for the Medical Examiner's office said it appears to be of natural causes and noted Harris had several medical problems. The body was released back to the family.
The Akron Beacon Journal spoke with Harris' sister, Frankie Adkins of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who told the newspaper meeting and hugging Mr. Obama was "her highlight" and her sister loved the President.
From Toledo to Youngstown the past 48 hours there's been plenty of celebrity gawking as President Obama opened a bus tour across Ohio into Pennsylvania, followed in tow by GOP Governors Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal on another bus. One law enforcement official, however, would appreciate someone calling him so he can send a message, too.
Brimfield Police Chief David Oliver has a regular feature on the Brimfield Police Department's Facebook page called "Chief's Babble"; he usually offers commentary on local issues, but today's posting asks a question of the President: can't you come through on a quiet Sunday instead of a busy rush hour when people are trying to get to work?
The "Chief's Babble" notes it may contain sarcasm, for those unfamiliar with Oliver's conversational and breezy style of writing which frequently uses irony and sarcasm in it's observations relating to his issues of the day. Today's posting reflected just some of the comments and calls we recieved at AkronNewsNow from drivers frustrated with delays that usually accompany a Presidential motorcade.
President Obama's bus tour started in the Toledo area before making it's way through Sandusky, Cleveland's western suburbs and a rally in Parma Thursday evening before stopping for an overnight stay at the Doubletree Hotel in Fairlawn.
His morning opened with a round of traffic headaches for Akron-area motorists on West Market, Miller Road and Interstate 77 that also included a breakfast stop at Ann's Place on South Hawkins Ave. (seen, left, courtesy pool photo/Associated Press) before heading east to campaign appearances in the Youngstown area. The bus tour hits Pittsburgh Friday afternoon.
Related story: Ann's Place Owner Dies After Meeting Obama
(Text of Chief Oliver's post on Facebook)
Chief’s Babble….On a Presidential Drive-by….
***Warning- may contain sarcasm****
Dear Mr. President,
I am the Chief of Police in Brimfield, Ohio. I have sent you a couple letters in the past, one of which requested stimulus funding for our new police department. I know you are busy running the country (a job I would not want) and you cannot return every letter or call. Actually, no elected federal public servant returned a call to me. We were not awarded any funding, so we applied for a loan through the USDA. We are building the new department right now.
I respect the office of the President and love my country. I am also not good at keeping my mouth shut when the community is impacted. This morning you came through our community. You entered it shortly after leaving Akron, Ohio. We are a small police department of 13 officers- and we were all here today, shutting down on and off-ramps, and generally causing delays to the motoring public. While I respect campaigns and the desire to serve the public, I would like to offer that motoring down an interstate in a huge bus, with a caravan resembling a parade, may not be the best idea during rush hour. As a working man, I get somewhat stressed when I am late for work. I believe others do also. Our department had to shut down eight on and off ramps, secure bridges and make the ODOT workers stop doing ODOT work as you made your way through. We could not tell anyone why they were being delayed, which does not help with the public perception on police officers in general.
I respect that you are the “most powerful man on the planet” and to be fair, if Mitt Romney did this, he would get the same advice. I am pretty confident you understand how everything comes to a standstill when you enter a community. Additionally, from a fiscal standpoint, my officers were here in an overtime capacity this morning, which is at the expense of the taxpayers- who are now late for work.
If you decide to come this way again, my suggestion is to do so on a quiet Sunday either before church traffic or in between church traffic and lunch. Sundays are usually a little more manageable for the motoring public. You are also welcome to stop and see the construction progress, as is Mr. Romney. We would be excellent hosts.
Best of luck in your endeavors…...Chief.
If you've been driving the Kenmore Leg -- and banging your head against the steering wheel as the Ohio Department of Transportation closes major portions of I-277 for resurfacing work -- it might help to see just what you've been missing.
ODOT has a video news release posted to it's YouTube account detailing the roadway removal, structural work including drilling existing concrete to place new rebar elements, and new layers of asphalt as part of it's work on the westbound lanes of the highway. The video makes a point of noting worker safety is a key issue since those rebuilding the highway don't have to worry about speeding cars just a construction cone away.
ODOT expects the construction work to be completed by mid-July, just in time to give motorists time to get re-aquainted with the highway ahead of the Hall of Fame and World Golf Championship weekends.
(ODOT) ODOT District 4 is now using video updates to inform the public on current road construction projects. The YouTube link below is an update on our Interstate 277 westbound closure. We are about half way through the 28 day closure on I-277 west and a lot of work has been completed up to this point. This video shows milling, full depth repairs and paving operations taking place over the past two weeks.
Akron-based FirstEnergy says it's making progress getting the lights and fans back on to customers still without power since last Friday's windstorms lashed a wide swath from southern Ohio to the Maryland shore.
The utility even says it's using helicopters to survey and help assess damages to key transmission lines in West Virginia, with more than five-housand employees dedicated to the effort to restore service. FirstEnergy reports as of Monday afternoon it had restored power to 350-thousand out of the 566-thousand customers in Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The hardest hit area, according to FirstEnergy, was in West Virginia where nearly 160,000 customers were still waiting for the electricity to come back on. The terrain has proven to pose significant challenges to getting power restored faster, says the utility.
FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) utilities have restored service to more than 350,000 of the 566,000 customers in West Virginia, Maryland, western Pennsylvania and central Ohio that were affected by the storm that hit the region on Friday night.
In West Virginia, helicopters are being used to assist in the restoration of 67 transmission lines 69-kilovolt and above that were damaged as a result of the storm. As repairs are made to the damaged portions of the transmission system in West Virginia, the company expects thousands of additional customers to be back in service over the next several days.
More than 5,100 linemen, hazard responders, forestry workers, call center representatives, management and support personnel are currently working around the clock to restore service to affected customers. The workforce includes approximately 4,000 from all 10 FirstEnergy utilities and support groups, and 1,100 from contractors and other utility companies. Additional resources are expected as they become available.
“As a result of the significant damage from the storm, we are in the process of rebuilding sections of our transmission system in West Virginia, which ultimately will help us restore a larger number of customers without power,” said Steve Strah, vice president, Utility Operations, FirstEnergy Utilities. “Using helicopters to patrol the lines and assess the damage – particularly in remote mountainous areas – has helped pinpoint problem locations and focus our restoration efforts.”
As of noon Monday, estimated customer outage restoration times are as follows:
FirstEnergy crews and contractors are utilizing the company’s restoration process, which is designed to restore power safely and efficiently:
As debris from the storm continues to be cleared, customers are cautioned never to touch downed lines. Customers should always assume downed wires are carrying electricity and are reminded to keep their children and pets away from downed wires. Downed wires should be reported immediately to your electric company or local police or fire department. Customers should never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines because they could conduct electricity; instead, wait for emergency services or utility crews to arrive.
For up-to-date information on the company's restoration effort, current outages, FirstEnergy’s storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, go to www.firstenergycorp.com and during significant service interruptions, outage information is also available via the company’s Twitter accounts.
A list of all accounts is available here: www.firstenergycorp.com/newsroom/social_media. In addition, customers can view timely, accurate and easy-to-use outage information through FirstEnergy’s “24/7 Power Center” maps, accessible on desktops, smart phones and mobile devices at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
Mon Power serves 500,000 customers in 47 West Virginia counties; Potomac Edison serves approximately 250,000 customers in seven Maryland counties and 135,000 customers in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia; West Penn Power serves 715,000 customers in 21 Pennsylvania counties; and Ohio Edison serves more 1 million customers in Ohio.
Forget for a moment how both CNN and Fox messed up their first reporting of the U.S. Supreme Court (henceforth known as SCOTUS because beltway insiders love words with no bearing in nature) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or ACA, a.k.a Obamacare; either way, have fun with that link) today.
What the decision ultimately meant, in the short run, was the opening of the digital floodgates to anyone with a soapbox interested in health care or, perhaps just as importantly, the political impact of the ruling.
Here's a snapshot of what landed in our email boxes at AkronNewsNow today in the minutes and hours immediately following the ruling and through the afternoon. We considered color-coding so you could easily see which side was represented, but they're all fairly obvious. Also worth noting: some political figures didn't waste any time finding the opportunity to ask for money for their campaigns, regardless of their political orientation.
10:29 a.m. "Somewhere in Ohio this law will help a family survive financial devastation from health care bills. Somewhere in Ohio this law will help a child born with a pre-existing condition survive and thrive. Somewhere in Ohio this law will help a person facing life or death decisions over fair access to affordable health care services." - Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director, ProgressOhio
10:31 a.m. "“As the licensed professionals in Ohio to advise consumers on their health care options, OAHU members stand ready to assist Ohioans whatever the Supreme Court may decide.”- Ohio Association of Healthcare Underwriters
10:35 a.m. "it means Republicans will be re-energized now to defeat Barack Obama so that Obamacare can be repealed by a Republican President and Congress." - GOP consultant David Johnson, CEO Strategic Vision, LLC
10:35 a.m. "Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a clear, unambiguous, and complete victory for long-overdue health care reform. It sends an unmistakable message that the building of a better, fairer health care system will continue to move forward." - Ron Pollack, Families USA
10:40 a.m. "This is a bright day for democracy in our country, as the Supreme Court of the United States put the health of over 31 million Americans ahead of politics and corporate profits.” - Becky Williams, President of SEIU District 1199
10:42 a.m. “The Supreme Court has spoken, and we need to move forward. It is past time for members from both parties to move on to the major economic problems facing our country – creating jobs and helping small businesses grow" - Betty Sutton, U.S. Congress D-OH-13
10:51 a.m. "ADF is challenging the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate in several lawsuits because it unconstitutionally requires faith-based employers to provide or pay for insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices for their employees regardless of whether the employers object on moral or religious grounds." Alliance Defense Fund statement
10:55 a.m. "I am disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare. It is a matter now that will again be fought in the political arena and will be the preeminent issue of the presidential campaign." - Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General
10:56 a.m. "While the Court has deemed the law constitutional as a tax on the American people, it is still flawed policy that is unaffordable for our families, our small businesses, and our government." - Rob Portman, U.S. Senate, R-OH
11:01 a.m. "The Obama-Sutton health care law is not only driving up premiums on struggling families, but will also force millions of Americans from their health care plans and put unelected Washington bureaucrats between patients and their doctors. While the Court has determined that the law complies with the constitution, that doesn’t mean it complies with common sense." - Jim Renacci, U.S. Congress R-OH-16
11:04 a.m. "Republicans like Speaker Boehner, Congressman Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have put their political careers ahead of working Americans struggling to afford and keep their healthcare. Insurance companies and corporate insiders have spent millions to take away the benefits of the law. Today, the Supreme Court rejected their cynical approach and working people won a resounding victory." - Mary Kay Henry, SEIU President
11:05 a.m. "Today's Supreme Court decision sets the stakes for the November election. Now, the only way to save the country from ObamaCare's budget-busting government takeover of health care is to elect a new president." - Reince Priebus, chairman, National Republican Committee
11:06 a.m. "the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) calls on Congress to improve upon several deficiencies in this legislation by eliminating the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, implementing cost-saving measures, like comprehensive medical liability reform, and finding alternative ways to achieve access to medical care other than already underfunded and overstressed public programs, such as Medicaid." - Deepak Kumar, M.D., President, Ohio State Medical Association
11:14 a.m. "The Supreme Court Ruling on ObamaCare does not matter. It will make little difference to America in the short run, and no difference in the long run. Why? Because almost all elected Republicans and Democrats are Big Government politicians – in all things – including health care. After this Supreme Court decision, they will get back to work expanding government involvement in all things – especially health care." - Libertarian Party of America statement
11:20 a.m. "The United States Supreme Court dealt a stunning blow, not just to pro-lifers, but to Americans overall by upholding the largest expansion of socialized healthcare and abortion our nation has ever seen." - Mike Gonidakis, President of Ohio Right to Life.
11:24 a.m. “Today is a good day for young adults, seniors, people with cancer and other health problems, and small businesses. The Affordable Care Act makes coverage more secure by ensuring that Ohioans cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition, or lose their coverage when they get sick." - Col Owens, Co-Chair, Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage
11:28 a.m. "“The court’s opinion today did not decide the issues in our cases. We are challenging the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate on religious liberty grounds which are not part of today’s decision. We will move forward seeking vindication of our client’s First Amendment rights." - Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
11:41 a.m. ""I'm really pleased that we've seen the healthcare law held up. I think that what this means is that we're moving ahead, we're continuing on a journey of reforming healthcare in the United States. We're addressing access for people who haven't had access before. We're beginning to address quality and developing a more efficient healthcare delivery system." - Dr. Toby Hargrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic
12:08 p.m. "Young Americans are faced with the prospect of either paying increased premiums for extensive coverage they may not need, or paying the Obamacare tax. This is yet another reason why we believe young Americans at the polls this fall will vote to take the nation in a different direction.” - Derek Flowers, executive director of Crossroads Generation
12:24 p.m. "“We’re very disappointed that this flawed law has been allowed to stand. The Supreme Court has confirmed what everyone knew all along—but that the White House tried to deny: this is a massive new tax on the middle class. Hopefully Congress will eventually repeal the law altogether and replace it with improvements that actually address the most pressing needs in health care, especially the need to reduce costs in order to improve access." - Governor John Kasich and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, statement
12:34 p.m. “Let me tell you: We are not going back,” Gerard said. “Under President Obama’s leadership, we have made too much progress to turn back the clock, and too many Americans stand to lose if this law is overturned. This country deserves a system that works for everyone, not just the healthy and the wealthy." - Leo Girard, President, United Steelworkers
12:43 p.m. "Today’s decision is legally sound, but more importantly, it’s morally responsible. Because of President Obama and Democrats’ bold vision, America is on course to lower our health care costs. With this decision, millions of Americans can breathe a sigh of relief as we move forward to ensure that more of our children, parents, and those with pre-existing conditions will have access to the health care resources they need to stay healthy and recover from sickness." - Chris Redfern, chairman, Ohio Democratic Party
1:04 p.m. "I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and who lost. That’s how these things tend to be viewed here in Washington. But that discussion completely misses the point. Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it." - President Barack Obama
1:08 pm. "The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare based on the individual mandate’s classification as a tax is a distressing blow to taxpayers. The ruling undermines President Obama’s 2009 assertion that his health care law was ‘not a tax’ and makes it clear that he tried to deceive the American people in order to get the bill passed by Congress. Now, Obamacare represents the single largest tax increase on young people in the nation’s history." - Tom Schatz, Citizens Against Government Waste
1:10 p.m. "The question now is whether Republicans will also put politics aside and work with Democrats to help make this law work for all Americans. Unfortunately, it doesn't look that way, at least in Congress. This morning, Speaker of the House John Boehner promised more politics as usual. He says he intends to waste even more time trying to repeal this law. Congressional Republicans are proving once again that they have no interest in bi-partisanship or in working together on behalf of the American people. No wonder disgust with Congress is at an all-time high." - Innovation Ohio, statement
1:10 p.m. “Today is an historic day for Americans of all ages, an affirmation of a law that helps children, workers, and retirees obtain affordable health care. Americans can now live more secure, knowing that their health and well-being are no longer tied to the whims and greed of the big insurance companies." - David Friesner, President of the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans
1:27 p.m. "Today’s landmark Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act validates the hard work that we as a nation have done to advance our policies toward achieving affordable health care for all. While this is a big step forward, we still have more work to do. Here in Ohio we must now undertake the task of implementing the law, including the creation of health care exchanges." - Tim Burga, President, Ohio AFL-CIO
1:59 p.m. "You have my firm pledge that this will be our first order of business after the election. But we need your urgent financial help, so in the name of liberty, I ask you to make one generous gift to the NRSC right now using our secure credit card donation form. The liberals have nowhere to hide – the American people are against ObamaCare, and we will campaign relentlessly against it. As long as we have the financial resources necessary, we WILL gain the 4 seats we need for a new Republican Majority, and we WILL get rid of ObamaCare." - Senator John Cornyn, National Republican Senate Committee
2:15 p.m. “Today’s ruling means that more than 1.2 million Ohio seniors will continue to have access to cancer screenings and wellness exams through Medicare. Nearly 97,000 young adults in our state will continue to be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26. Parents of children with pre-existing conditions – like cancer, asthma, or diabetes – will no longer worry that they will be unable to buy health insurance." - Sherrod Brown, U.S. Senate, D-OH
3:58 p.m. "Right after the Supreme Court’s decision this morning the Democratic National Committee started celebrating - these are direct quotes: “it's constitutional. B****es.” "TAKE THAT MOTHER******S!!" This is the party that speaks for women? I’m appalled. As a Mother, I fear my kids will grow up in a country where Washington controls healthcare decisions best left to Moms, Dads and families. We must get rid of this law by defeating the crass Democrats who support it." (editor's note: this was followed by a link asking for donations) - Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers , National Republican Congressional Committee
4:00 p.m. "It neither protects patients nor makes care affordable-quite the opposite in fact. It was designed as, and remains, a top-down technocratic attempt to address an incredibly complex and diverse industry with one-size-fits-all mandates, subsidies and regulations from bureaucrats in Washington, DC. It is an attempt to wish away basic economic principles and "protect" consumers by giving them less power and control over their healthcare decisions. Ironically, the least fortunate are likely to pay the highest price for this hubris." - Kevin Holtsberry, President, Ohio Buckeye Institute
4:06 p.m. (Round 2) "Hopefully Congress will eventually repeal the law altogether and replace it with improvements that actually address the most pressing needs in health care, especially the need to reduce costs in order to improve access. Until then, Ohio taxpayers could be saddled with dramatically higher costs. The Administration will carefully analyze the decision to determine the appropriate next steps. We are very concerned that a sudden, dramatic increase in Medicaid spending could threaten Ohio’s ability to pursue needed reforms in other areas, such as education." - Governor John Kasich and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor
4:33 p.m. "Many in my District struggle everyday with financial burdens as a result of chronic disease and illness. Today we respect the final decision of the Supreme Court that moves us toward a more human health care system. And now we need to get back to the important work of getting the economy moving and helping small businesses compete in a global economy.” - Congressman Tim Ryan, D-OH-17
4:44 p.m. "Friend -- today was a great day for millions of Americans. But the special interests and the far right aren’t about to give up in their effort to erase basic protections for middle class families -- and they aren’t going to let up in their attacks on me. Make no mistake, they are about to pile on to the $10 million they’ve already spent to defeat us. Click here to help us fight back (link to donation website removed by editor). The truth is I need you on my side before the deadline -- it’s just a few days away." - campaign committee for U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown
A Portage County jail corrections officer is now a former corrections officer -- and facing felony assault charges in connection with injuries to an inmate.
Sheriff David Doak says Connie Sutton of Akron was fired from her job on being indicted on one count of felonious assault after an incident at the jail between Sutton and 23-year old Holly Anderson or Ravenna Township.
A news release from the Sheriff says Anderson required transport for injuries requiring treatment after the alleged incident with Sutton.
Sutton turned herself in and was arraigned this morning, according to the Sheriff's Department, and posted $50,000 personal recognizance bond. She was told not to have any contact with inmates at the jail or any witnesses in the case.
(Portage County Sheriff) Sheriff David W. Doak announced today the arrest of Connie Y. Sutton from Akron, Ohio. Sutton, who was a Corrections Officer at the Portage County Jail, was indicted by the Portage County Grand Jury on June 21, 2012 on one count of Felonious Assault, a 2nd degree felony. The charge stems from an incident at the Portage County Jail between Sutton and a female inmate, Holly Anderson, age 23 of Ravenna Township. As a result of that incident, Anderson was transported to Robinson Memorial Hospital where she was treated for her injuries and released.
On today’s date, Sutton turned herself in with her attorney at the Portage County Jail where she was booked and subsequently arraigned in the Portage County Common Please Court where she was released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond with conditions of no contact with any inmates at the jail facility or other witnesses in the case. No further court dates have been set.
As a result of the investigation, Sutton’s employment at the Portage County Jail has been terminated
Remember that AMBER Alert on Memorial Day, where a Chagrin Falls father said his estranged wife had taken their three daughters to Pennsylvania? A committee set up to review such alerts in northeast Ohio has ruled the criteria wasn't met when police issued an alert.
The panel is made up of law enforcement, emergency communication workers and the media, and after meeting recently with Chagrin Falls Police Department officials determined the criteria wasn't met when Chagrin Falls PD asked for the alert to be issued. AMBER Alerts, in general, aren't recommended in most disputed custody cases, and it there are still many questions still remaining from this particular case.
The Chagrin Falls father who first filed the report with police told them his estranged wife didn't have custody, may have a weapon in the car and was heading out of state. Police contacted their counterparts in Pennsylvania, who reached the woman on her cell phone. She was enroute to her parent's home near Lancaster, PA and she agreed to meet with police. A gun was never found in the car, and it's questionable if there were custody issues between the couple.
The review board approved three alerts issued by Cleveland police, even calling their investigative work "commendable" in their findings after a review hearing earlier this month.
PRIOR COVERAGE: UPDATE AMBER Alert Canceled For Chagrin Falls Kids
(Northeast Ohio AMBER Task Force) The Northeast Ohio Amber Board Bylaws requires the Review Board Committee to determine if the criteria were satisfactorily met for any activation. On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, the Northeast Ohio Amber Alert Review Board met with Chagrin Falls Chief James Brosius and Ms. Lisa Mariola, Communications Administrator to review their activation report. On Monday, May 28, 2012, the Chagrin Falls Police Department issued an AMBER Alert for three young children taken by their mother. The children and mother were located several hours later safe and unharmed in Pennsylvania. After careful review and discussion of the information provided, the Review Board decided the criteria were not satisfactorily met.
On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, the Northeast Ohio Amber Alert Review Board met with Sergeant Sam Morris, PIO (Public Information Officer) for the Cleveland Division of Police to review their three activation reports.
On Saturday, February 18, 2012, the Cleveland Division of Police issued an AMBER Alert for a 2 year old girl along with her mother was abducted by the mother’s boyfriend. Tragically both were found murdered by the father who committed suicide. The criteria were satisfactorily met.
On Monday, March 26, 2012, the Cleveland Division of Police after an exhausting investigation issued an AMBER Alert for a 4 year old male who was lured away by an adult male living in the home. The boy and the abductor were seen the next morning walking on a street in East Cleveland. Someone recognized them from the Alert and notified the police. The boy was rescued unharmed and the abductor was arrested. The criteria were satisfactorily met.
On Wednesday, April 18, 2012, the Cleveland Division of Police issued an AMBER Alert for 4 young children that the father threaten to kill during a physical assault on the mother. The father then proceeds to the four different schools and removed the children. He was apprehended before causing harm to the children. The criteria were satisfactorily met.
The Cleveland Division of Police directed commendable investigations before issuing all three alerts.
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