What the Ohio Supreme Court said about splitting congressional districts in Cuyahoga, Summit counties: The Wa – cleveland.com

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A close up of the Cleveland, Akron and Canton area in the proposed congressional map.
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There is a chance of snow showers this morning, but not much accumulation is expected. Highs will be around 31 degrees with cloudy skies. Temperatures will rise into the upper 30s overnight with mostly cloudy skies and it will be breezy. Expect gusts around 32 mph. Read more.
School closings: Read more
Local scores: Cavs 107, Oklahoma City Thunder 102
Cuyahoga split: The Ohio Supreme Court singled out Cuyahoga, Summit and Hamilton counties in their redistricting decision, ruling that Republicans overstepped to result in fewer potentially Democratic congressional seats. Seth Richardson reports the 4-3 majority found the Republican-passed maps unduly split Cuyahoga and Summit counties to benefit the Republican Party. Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor joined the court’s three Democratic justices in striking down Ohio’s new congressional districts as an unconstitutional gerrymander, Andrew Tobias reports. “When the dealer stacks the deck in advance, the house usually wins,” reads the opinion. The court ruled the map disproportionately favored Republicans while “unduly” splitting three Democratic counties — Hamilton, Summit and Cuyahoga — into multiple districts.
Supermajority: The Ohio Supreme Court ruling overturning GOP-drawn legislative districts could result in the end of the Republican supermajority, which has ruled the Ohio legislature for decades. Experts say when there’s not good partisan competition, government becomes less functional, reports Seth Richardson.
Today in Ohio, the daily news podcast of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer.
Ohio leaders have nine days to come up with legislative maps that meet constitutional requirements to mirror the partisan preferences of Ohio voters. What comes first? The Ohio Redistricting Commission could have some different members. We’re talking about the next steps on Today in Ohio, cleveland.com’s daily half-hour news podcast.
American history: Gov. Mike DeWine does not like critical race theory, but in an extensive conversation he explained that he believes history needs to be taught truthfully – including understanding slavery and the impact of discrimination. Laura Hancock reports that DeWine believes white Americans should not feel guilty about the past, “but to recognize that happened and to say something bad happened shouldn’t have happened.”
Medicaid: Ohio Medicaid officials failed to recover more than $118 million they improperly paid to vendors due to ineligible program enrollees, including those who were either in prison or dead, Andrew Tobias reports.
Ruling reaction: Ohio Democrats in Congress were pleased with the Ohio Supreme Court’s rejection of a congressional map designed by the Republicans who control Ohio’s state legislature to minimize the number of seats held by Democrats and maximize their own party’s clout, Sabrina Eaton reports.
FirstEnergy: Maryland’s utility regulation commission has ruled that FirstEnergy Corp. does not have to make public an internal investigation related to the House Bill 6 scandal that led to the firing of top company executives. Jeremy Pelzer reports the Jan. 6 ruling by the Public Service Commission of Maryland is the latest rebuff of consumer advocates’ attempts to force the release of the FirstEnergy internal investigation.
Coal subsidies: An Indiana coal-fired power plant that Ohio ratepayers are paying millions of dollars to subsidize under the notorious House Bill 6 energy law could soon close because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to no longer exempt it from environmental rules. Jeremy Pelzer reports the U.S. EPA has proposed denying a request by the Clifty Creek Power Plant to continue using unlined surface ponds to hold coal ash.
Warrensville Heights Mayor Brad Sellers has dropped out of the Cuyahoga County Executive in wake of reporting done by cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer that discovered he owed thousands in county taxes when he claimed on tax abatement application that he was debt-free.
Brad Sellers: Warrensville Heights Mayor Brad Sellers has dropped out of the race for Cuyahoga County executive in the wake of reporting by Kaitlin Durbin that discovered he owed thousands in county property taxes when he claimed on a tax abatement application that he was debt-free. Kaylee Remington reports county records showed he was thousands of dollars delinquent, and Ohio law prohibits making false statements on legal documents, or before a notary, or to secure economic development assistance. Laws also prohibit having an “unlawful interest in a public contract.”
Shirley Smith: Shirley Smith, a former state senator who recently lost a bid for the 11th Congressional District, is planning her second campaign for Cuyahoga County executive. Her first challenge, she said, is trying to secure the Democratic Party’s endorsement, reports Kaitlin Durbin.
Downtown improvements: How to make downtown Cleveland better? Readers suggested gender-equal crosswalk signs, more public art leading to and from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, more outdoor dining options and better lanes for bicycles and scooters. Steven Litt writes that this may be the best time in years to figure out how to upgrade a public realm designed primarily to speed traffic through downtown, sometimes with deadly results.
Opioids: Ohio doctors and pharmacists cut back the number of prescription opioids they dispensed last year, a move that continues a large-scale drop in the number of painkillers doled out across the state. John Caniglia reports that 10 years after the peak of the prescription opioid crisis hit, medical providers have sharply reduced the number of pills that reach consumers.
Snow totals: A winter storm drenched the Cleveland area in snow, but how much snow did your community get? Sean McDonnell has the totals from the National Weather Service.
Hospital counts: Though still remarkably high, Ohio hospitals saw a decline in their daily COVID-19 patient count this week. However, the state also reported its highest number of COVID-19 deaths in recent memory, reports Jane Morice.
Sky-high numbers: The state of Ohio on Friday reported 41,455 new cases of COVID-19, a number that is artificially high for one day as the health department begins to catch up on the reporting of a backlog of case processing that accumulated during the omicron surge. Julie Washington reports the state’s disease reporting system reached its capacity, resulting in a “multiple-day backlog of tens of thousands of results.”
Timeline: About 24% of U.S. hospitals are reporting a “critical staffing shortage,” according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. Marc Bona sums up the news in his weekly coronavirus timeline.
Schools: The latest weekly update shows 16 school districts reporting more than 200 student and staff cases, and 38 reporting more than 100. Dublin City Schools in Franklin County reported the most new COVID-19 cases among students and staff throughout Ohio, reports Alexis Oatman. The Cleveland, Mentor Exempted Village, Brunswick, and North Olmsted school districts are all among the top 20.
Test costs: A new policy from the Biden Administration aimed at making COVID-19 tests more affordable could create big unexpected costs for insurance companies and self-insured employers now that they’re on the hook for at-home tests bills. Sean McDonnell reports that insurers must cover eight tests a month for every person they insure, either making them free up front or reimbursing them for up to $12 if they buy on their own.
Sherwin-Williams: Sherwin-Williams was profitable last year, but sales were hurt by rising raw material costs and labor shortages among contractors in 2021. Sean McDonnell reports the company said in reporting fourth-quarter results Friday that it has momentum going into 2022.
Seditious conspiracy: A rural Ohio bartender who authorities say led militia members during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol was charged Thursday with seditious conspiracy, the most serious allegation filed in connection with the attack on the nation’s democracy. John Caniglia reports Jessica Watkins, 39, of Woodstock, was one of 11 people indicted in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Cedar Point: Cedar Point has increased its walk-up admission price to $85 for 2022, although most visitors won’t pay that much. Gate admission is up $10 in 2022, or 13%. Susan Glaser reports that a majority of Cedar Point visitors, however, are season-pass holders, and therefore don’t pay the daily rate.
House of the week: With panoramic views of Lake Erie, living at 1082 Lake Point Drive in Lakewood is “like being on vacation all day, every day.” Joey Morona reports the $1.5 million, 1973-built home boasts four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms.
Search underway for suspect in fatal shooting in Sheffield Village Read more
Police say man killed in Akron at party Read more
Ohio parents face charges after 1-year-old child dies of fentanyl overdose Read more
Man wanted in killing of gas station employee in Syracuse caught in Ohio, police say Read more
Four Lyndhurst streets scheduled for resurfacing this year; new program will seek to repair, not replace, upraised sidewalks Read more
Medina mayor stresses importance of community at Martin Luther King Jr. Day service Read more
Westshore Council of Governments kicks off new year Read more
West Shore Chamber of Commerce taking temperature of ‘business climate’ Read more
Noble neighborhood gets boost of representation on Cleveland Heights City Council Read more
Consumers beware: Even electric space heaters can be a danger, says Rocky River fire chief Read more
Avon Lake council postpones fire station levy; fire chief is not happy Read more
Brunswick City Council approves ordinance regulating discount stores; congratulates Donut Land Read more
Inpatient unit at Hospice of Medina County reopens after 19-month closure Read more
Lakewood school’s Civics Club giving out free hats, gloves and scarves to those in need Read more
North Olmsted appoints Max Upton as newly created economic and community development director Read more
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