Ohio’s Largest City Plans to Spend $200 Million on Housing, If Voters Approve

Ohio’s largest city wants to spend $200 million on affordable housing if voters approve borrowing a total of $1.5 billion in November.

Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther had previously said the city has a goal of combining $1 billion in public and private funds to meet housing needs in the region, calling housing a regional problem.

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Owner of Historic Mall Struggles to Bring Property Up to Code Before Court Date

Central Ohio’s oldest mall faces demolition if it cannot be brought back up to code, owing to two years’ worth of accumulating citations and warnings by City Code Enforcement and a judge declaring it a public nuisance.

“The owner is working on improvements,” mall manager Nihal Weerasinghe told The Ohio Star. “He is committed to uplift the mall by the end of the year.”

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Cincinnati Ranked in the Top Five Places to Retire in the United States: Report

One Ohio city ranks in the top five of best places to retire in the nation, and four others rank among the best of the nation’s largest cities, according to a new report from WalletHub, a personal finance website.

Cincinnati ranked third – behind only Charleston, South Carolina and Orlando – in the report that compared the retiree-friendliness of more than 180 cities using 46 metrics, such as cost of living to retired taxpayers to the state’s health infrastructure.

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Columbus Teachers Start School Year on Picket Lines

Students in Ohio’s largest school district will begin classes Wednesday remotely after teachers rejected a final contract offer and voted to strike late Sunday night.

Columbus Education Association teachers were on the picket line at several school buildings Monday morning, the first day teachers were scheduled to report, after 94% of its members voted to strike for the first time since 1975.

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Columbus Teachers Start School Year on Picket Lines

Students in Ohio’s largest school district will begin classes Wednesday remotely after teachers rejected a final contract offer and voted to strike late Sunday night.

Columbus Education Association teachers were on the picket line at several school buildings Monday morning, the first day teachers were scheduled to report, after 94% of its members voted to strike for the first time since 1975.

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Columbus Schools, Teachers at Impasse; Strike Vote Scheduled Sunday

Teachers in Ohio’s largest school district are prepared to continue negotiations over the weekend but have scheduled a Sunday meeting for a vote on a potential strike.

After 12 hours of negotiating Thursday, the Columbus City Board of Education made what it called its final contract offer, which teachers called substantially unchanged from their most recent.

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Mask Advisory, but No Mandate for Columbus as COVID-19 Cases Climb

Ohio’s largest city is not considering another mask mandate despite recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a growing number of COVID-19 cases.

The city of Columbus has issued a mask advisory, urging masks indoors and in crowded places, despite vaccine statues, until further notice, Columbus Public Health spokeswoman Kelli Newman said.

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Illegal Alien Living in Columbus, Ohio Charged with Raping and Impregnating 10-Year-Old Girl

An illegal alien from Guatemala who has lived in Columbus, Ohio, for the past seven years has been arrested and charged with raping and impregnating a 10-year-old girl.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday Gerson Fuentes, 27, who has been working in a café, confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions and has been charged with rape, a first degree felony in Ohio.

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Ohio’s Largest City Limits Use of Force for Police Dealing with Protesters

Nearly two years after protests filled the streets of downtown Columbus, the state’s largest city took steps to demilitarize its police force Monday by limiting certain weapons and equipment that can be used during peaceful protests.

The Columbus City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance that limits police from using tear gas, wooden or rubber bullets, batons, flash-bang grenades and other items on nonviolent protesters on streets and sidewalks.

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Columbus Challenges Ohio’s ‘Conscience Clause’ with Lawsuit

Ohio’s largest city filed suit Wednesday to stop a new law that allows medical providers to deny treatment based on their beliefs.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein filed the suit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on behalf of the city of Columbus, challenging the law, known as the “Conscience Clause,” that protects individuals and health care payers who deny care or payment for any service they feel violates their conscience.

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‘Solidarity Fund’ Created for Ohio Starbucks Employees as They Attempt to Unionize in Columbus

A “solidarity fund” has been created for Starbucks employees at a Columbus store as they attempt to join coworkers nationwide in unionizing, a process they say is being opposed by the coffee giant. 

“In Columbus, OH, a courageous and amazing group of Starbucks workers have come together at the 88 E. Broad St. store to form their Union with Starbucks Workers United! They are fighting for better wages, safe working conditions, and a voice at their worksite,” says a GoFundMe page organized by former Columbus mayoral candidate Liliana Baiman. 

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Columbus and Surrounding Cities’ Mayors Signal Potential End to Indoor Mask Mandate

City leaders from Bexley, Whitehall, Worthington, and Columbus met with Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts and Franklin County Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola recently to receive an update on the status of the spread of COVID-19 in the community, according to a statement by the city of Columbus.

Currently, each city has local orders in place requiring the wearing of face coverings indoors, however, Dr. Roberts reported that both COVID-19 transmission rates and hospitalizations have continued to decline dramatically. If current trends continue, each city expects to consider lifting local face covering requirements in the coming weeks, according to the press release.

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USPS Will Conduct Audit Amid Mail Theft Uptick in Ohio

According to a U.S. congresswoman from Ohio, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will conduct audits of its policies and procedures after a massive uptick in mail theft and violence against mail carriers has the public up in arms. 

“For years now, Central Ohioans have struggled with slow and unreliable USPS deliveries, particularly in the Northland area serviced by the Innis Road branch and Southeast Columbus,” Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03) reportedly said. “These audits are the first step to restoring the rapid, reliable deliveries Americans should expect from their Postal Service. We expect to receive full reports from the USPS following the completion of the audits in the coming weeks, and I will work with local officials to ensure the necessary investments and solutions are put in place.”

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Cleveland Post Offices Taping Mailboxes Shut as Thefts Continue

Ohio’s issues with mail theft and violence against postal workers do not appear to be slowing, as postal workers in Cleveland are taking extraordinary measures to keep thieves from stealing mail. 

 Just a week after The Ohio Star reported on a string of robberies of postal workers in the Columbus area, Cleveland’s United State Postal Service (USPS) employees have been forced to tape shut their ubiquitous blue mailboxes to prevent thieves from breaking in and stealing mail, according to reports. 

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Postal Police Officers Association Chief: Government Defunded Postal Officers While Mail Crimes Soared

“The Postal Inspection Service data revealed that mail theft reports soared by 600% over three years, from about 25,000 in 2017 to roughly 177,000 through August of 2020,” Frank Albergo said. “But when asked to explain the apparent explosion in mail theft, the Inspection Service backtracked and said the figures might be inaccurate.”

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String of Columbus Mail Carrier Robbed over Universal Mailbox Keys

Columbus is facing a United States Postal Service (USPS) challenge as several mail carriers have now been robbed at gunpoint and their universal mailbox keys stolen. 

“A gunman held up a letter carrier on Partridge Place in north Columbus on Jan. 27 when he was in the middle of his delivery route,” WTTE reported. 

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Off-Duty Officer Killed in Cleveland Carjacking Ends Another Violent Year

Cleveland police sudan

Cleveland’s last homicide in a record-setting 2021 occurred when an off-duty police officer was shot and killed during a carjacking on New Year’s Eve. 

“Preliminary investigation indicates that a suspect approached the victim in the parking lot of the apartment building with a gun, a struggle ensued and the victim was shot twice by the suspect,” Cleveland police said in a statement. “The suspect then fled in the victim’s vehicle. The victim was conveyed to Fairview Hospital by Cleveland EMS where he was pronounced deceased.”

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Amid Crime Wave, Franklin County Prosecutor Says He’s Protecting Ohioans of Color – from Police

Gary Tyack

As central Ohio sees crime rates soar, one prosecutor is working to reign in police departments. 

In a shocking interview with WBNS, Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack said his office is working to protect the African American community from police, and that it is focused on prosecuting police officers.

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Ohio Cities Spending Federal COVID Relief Dollars on Anything But COVID Relief

Of the $6.6 billion given to Ohio cities in federal pandemic relief funds, much of the money has been allotted for projects unrelated to COVID-19, or has not been allotted for spending at all. 

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March, providing a total of $1.9 trillion in federal funds for pandemic relief. That money was spread around the country, and cities were supposed to report their expenditure plans to the federal government by Oct. 31.

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Examiner Who Performed Andrew Brown Autopsy Previously Had License Suspended, Accused of Mishandling Prior Investigation

The forensic pathologist hired to perform an autopsy on Andrew Brown Jr., a black man sheriff’s deputies killed in North Carolina earlier this month, resigned under scrutiny as a county medical examiner in 2013 and had his medical license temporarily suspended in 2018, according to filings with the North Carolina state medical board.

Brent Hall, who runs an autopsy-for-hire company called Autopsy PC, said in his autopsy report that Brown was shot five times, including once in the back of the head.

Brown’s family members and their legal team, led by Benjamin Crump, hired Hall to perform a private autopsy on Brown. They cited the autopsy results as evidence that Brown was executed by police.

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’60 Minutes’ Chronicles Columbus’ Struggles During COVID Lockdowns

Sunday night, CBS’ “60 Minutes” chronicled the struggle in the city of Columbus, especially among young people, during the COVID-19 lockdowns that cost many their livelihoods.

The center of the segment was 23-year-old Courtney Yoder, who before the pandemic was homeless, and had almost saved enough money from working to be able to move off the streets before the birth of her first child. 

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Lawsuits Filed Against Ohio Cities over Municipal Income Tax Collections During Pandemic

Two Ohioans filed lawsuits this week challenging Ohio tax law that allows cities to tax income of workers who, the lawsuits say, do not live in nor work in the municipalities.

The Buckeye Institute, an independent research and educational group, filed the lawsuits on behalf of Eric Denison and Josh Schaad against the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati. The lawsuits ask the court to declare unconstitutional Ohio law that allows cities to tax workers who do not live in and have not been working in those cities.

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Ohio’s Largest City Wants to Cap Delivery Fees for Restaurants

With Ohioans facing an ongoing curfew and continued pressure from Gov. Mike DeWine to stay at home, the state’s largest city plans to take steps to help both restaurants and their customers.

In an effort to help small businesses and the restaurant community, the Columbus City Council announced plans for legislation to cap third-party delivery services, according to President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown and Council President Shannon G. Hardin.

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Citizens Concerned About Election Integrity to March for Trump in Every State Capitol, Washington on Saturday

A series of marches supporting President Donald Trump and to demand election integrity are being held throughout the country at noon local time on Saturday.

The March for Trump will be held in every state capitol as well as at Freedom Plaza, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C., according to the event website. The website links to America First Projects.

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Columbus Statue to Remain on Ohio Statehouse Grounds for Now

A statue of Christopher Columbus will not be removed from the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse until at least 2025, officials said Thursday.

The 9-foot-tall, copper statue of Columbus, in place since 1932, will remain erected in front of the Statehouse in the largest city that bears the explorer’s name until a formal process for removal is undergone by the agency that manages the grounds.

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Buckeye Institute Sues Over Law Allowing Columbus to Collect Income Taxes From Commuters Despite Emergency Order Preventing Them from Working in the City

The Buckeye Institute said that it and three employees filed a lawsuit over the taxing of workers’ income in Columbus since they do not live in the city and were not allowed to work there during Ohio’s Stay-at-Home order.

The lawsuit, which is available here, was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County.

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Ohio Speaker of the House Threatens to Remove Capitol Square from City of Columbus

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) announced he is looking into whether the Ohio Capitol can be annexed from the City of Columbus’ city limits as a result of the city not protecting the Capitol from recent protests.

“We’re researching it currently. If Columbus isn’t interested in protecting state property we need to consider removing Cap Square from the City,” he said in an emailed statement.

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Ohio Dems Call for Banning Sale of Confederate Memorabilia at All Fairs

Ohio House Democrats unsuccessfully attempted last week to ban the sale, display, possession, or distribution of Confederate flags at county and independent fairs.

During a Thursday night debate on House Bill 665, a bill related to agricultural societies and public safety, Democrats introduced two amendments in an effort to crack down on Confederate memorabilia.

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Franklin County Democratic Party Tells Local FOP Lodge Its Candidates Do Not Want Police Endorsements

The Franklin County Democratic Party has decided that the local Fraternal Order of Police does not need to endorse any of its candidates.

Party Chairman Michael Sexton informed the FOP Capital City Lodge #9 of the decision in a letter, available on the Democratic chapter’s Facebook page here from a Friday post.

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Ohio Black Caucus Introduces Bill to Declare Racism ‘Public Health Crisis’

The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus announced Friday that it plans to introduce legislation to declare racism a “public health crisis.”

“Our citizens of color have been subjected to the effects of racism since the founding of the State of Ohio in 1803. Since that time, Ohioans of color have endured unequal education, unsafe work conditions, inadequate health care services, subpar housing and an unjust criminal justice system, based on policies that were rooted in a belief that people of color are not worthy of the American Dream,” said a statement from the caucus sent to every member of the Ohio General Assembly.

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Ohio Dems ‘Outraged’ by Gov. DeWine’s Plan to Address COVID-19 Racial Disparities: ‘Too Little, Too Late’

Ohio Democrats said they were “outraged” by Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposal for addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s black population.

African Americans make up 14 percent of Ohio’s population, but represent 26 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths.

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Gov. DeWine Prepared to Pull Plug on Ohio’s Reopening as His Strict Guidelines Lead to Penalties for Restaurants

Gov. Mike DeWine said he is prepared to “pull back” on Ohio’s reopening.

The governor made the remark Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

”Candidly, we’ve worked with the attorney general … and we’re going to do what we have to do if these things in fact occur across Ohio.”

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‘You’re Getting a Paycheck, We’re Not,’ Protestors Say of DeWine, Acton

Approximately 150 people gathered outside the State Capitol in Columbus Monday to tell Gov. Mike DeWIne and Health Department Director Amy Action that it’s past time to reopen the state.

Tom Zawistowski, president of Ohio Tea Party group We the People Convention, estimated the attendance, in an interview with The Ohio Star. This was the second such protest since last Thursday.

Many of the protestors called out, “You’re getting a paycheck, we’re not,” Zawistowski said.

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Illegal Immigrant Sentenced in Columbus Helped Imprisoned Members of MS-13

An illegal immigrant who was helping imprisoned members of MS-13 in Columbus, Ohio was sentenced to 10 months in prison last week.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio said Wednesday that Fabian Posadas-Mejia will receive a year of supervised release after his prison term and will be subject to deportation upon completing his sentence.

Authorities said they first encountered Posadas-Mejia nearly 25 years ago when he was ordered to be removed from the United States. He was then deported twice in 2014 and once in 2017, meaning he illegally reentered the country at least three times.

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Ohio Gov. DeWine Overcomes ‘The Governator’ Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forces Arnold Sports Festival to Bar Spectators Except for Parents

A bodybuilding competition sponsored by Arnold Schwarzenegger turned into a battle of wills with the governor of Ohio, who expressed concerns about potentially exposing crowds to the coronavirus. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther sent the former California governor/actor and his partner a letter stating they reached an agreement Tuesday to go forward with the event provided there were no spectators. Event organizers, however, moved forward with issuing tickets, passes and other admittences to the The Arnold Sports Festival, which began Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

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Ohio Ranks Third in Nation in Ongoing Hepatitis A Outbreak

As of Jan. 21, the Buckeye State had experienced 3,468 cases of hepatitis A in a statewide community outbreak that officially began Jan. 1, 2018, according to data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sixty-two percent of patients were hospitalized, and 16 died.

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Register for The Ohio Star Constitution Bee, Coming to Columbus in May 2020

  The Ohio Star Constitution Bee will be held at a location to be announced shortly in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, May 2, 2020. The event is sponsored by The Star News Education Foundation, a newly formed non-profit. Star News Digital Media, which owns The Ohio Star, The Tennessee Star,…

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Pete Hegseth from ‘Fox and Friends’ Talks to Ohioans After Dem Debate

On Wednesday morning, Fox and Friends’ Pete Hegseth was at Tee Jaye’s Country Place in Columbus to dish about Westerville’s Democratic Presidential Debate with area residents. The Ohio Star caught up with a couple of those interviewed.

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Ohio Legislators Already Paid in Full for July Even Though Government Is Only Funded Through July 17

  As of now, Ohio’s state government is only funded through July 17 under a temporary budget passed by the State Legislature. The stop-gap measure was passed after legislators failed to meet their June 30 constitutional deadline for passing a biennial budget. But, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, legislators…

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Ohio Cities Partake in Pro-Abortion ‘Stop the Bans’ Protests

  Pro-abortion activists across the country organized “Stop the Bans” rallies on Tuesday, several of which occurred in Ohio. In Columbus, protesters lined the streets outside of Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, chanting: “Keep abortions safe and legal!” Several protesting outside the governor’s office for the ‘Stop the Ban’ protest pic.twitter.com/kda5faqQpl…

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Pelosi Delivers Rousing Speech to Ohio Democrats: ‘We Will Turn Ohio Blue’

  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Democrats to “turn Ohio blue” in a passionate speech at the Ohio Democratic Party’s annual Legacy Dinner in Columbus Friday night. Pelosi spent the early portions of her speech touting the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and the legislation new…

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Warren Promises Free College, Canceling of Student Loan Debt and More at Columbus Rally

  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a 2020 contender, hosted a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio Friday night where she received thunderous applause while discussing her controversial wealth tax. “I’m tired of freeloading billionaires,” Warren said Friday night after campaigning across West Virginia earlier in the day. In January, Warren floated…

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