This Week in the CLE
A review and analysis of the week's news in Northeast Ohio
5 months ago

This Week in the CLE: Thursday, June 20, 2019

More state action on jail while Cuyahoga council does nothing, Armond Budish details his jail reforms, murder suspect accidentally freed, Ohio’s new top employer, Dan Gilbert pays up, Anthony Sowell settlement mystery and Mitchell’s flavors ranked

Seven months after the release of a blistering report about inhumane conditions at the Cuyahoga County Jail, the Cuyahoga County Council has done nearly nothing to oversee reforms, and that might be why we now have two efforts brewing in Columbus to compel change.

We talk with reporter Courtney Astolfi and politics editor Jane Kahoun about why the council has been missing in action while Gov. Mike DeWine and two Democratic legislators mount efforts to fix the jail. The county council is composed of Council President Dan Brady, Pernel Jones, Nan Baker, Dale Miller, Scott Tuma, Michael J. Gallagher, Jack Schron, Yvonne Conwell, Shontel Brown, Cheryl Stephens and Sunny Simon.

Even without County Council oversight, County Executive Armond Budish says he has made a lot of progress on bringing order to the jail. He stopped by cleveland.com this week with some of his top staff to talk about his reforms, which we discuss on the podcast with Courtney and crime and justice editor Kris Wernowsky.

Kris and Courtney, and their many colleagues, are what make This Week in the CLE special. You’re not hearing from people completely disconnected from the news who read our reports about it and try to sound like they are experts. This podcast showcases 14 journalists who reported and edited the news you are talking about, journalists who interviewed the newsmakers, know the history and understand the ramifications. This Week in the CLE is the only source that can give you that expertise. And this episode just might be the most informative to date.

We talk with reporter Adam Ferrise about how a murder suspect was accidentally released from the jail, the second such release this spring.

Adam also provides insight into his story about a family’s desperate search for mental health services for a woman who now stands accused of beating her mom to death with a hammer.

Kris talks about a story that broke late in the week about an appellate court slapping a federal court judge in Cleveland for allowing secrecy to prevail in an an opioid lawsuit of national significance.

Jane offers the latest on the evolution of the state budget, with fresh details from the state senate’s version. The budget has to be adopted by June 30.

Jane also talks about a proposal to make dealing with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles less maddening and DeWine’s commitment to help Lake Erie.

Leaders with the YMCA visited cleveland.com this week to talk about how things are going since they took over the women’s homeless shelter a year ago, and Courtney shares the highlights. It’s a good news story about finding stable homes for the homeless and county government investing in turning lives around.

Data expert Rich Exner analyzes his latest version of Ohio’s top employers, with the Cleveland Clinic taking the top spot from Wal-Mart and some big names falling off the list.

Rich also describes the end of a trend involving our taxes, in which we once received tax rebates when the state had a surplus. Today, legislators would rather cut the tax rates, but that can be dangerous when the economy weakens.

Federal courts reporter Eric Heisig discusses why the Quicken Loans settlement with the government could be seen as a win and as a loss for Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Eric also talks about the end of a lengthy prison term for Nate Gray, who was served that sentence for corruption. The Gray case was one in a long line of corruption cases that began more than a decade ago. Also from federal court, Eric describes the secret settlement by Cleveland and the living victims of Anthony Sowell. The survivors sued, arguing Cleveland police had failed to adequately investigate Sowell.

Reporter Mary Kilpatrick provides an update on the Browns training facility remaining in Berea.

Reporter Evan MacDonald talks about the latest news involving Euclid Police, who gained infamy in the past year through the Serial podcast about criminal justice in Cuyahoga County. Euclid is mired in controversy again because of whom it selected to investigate a police officer caught on video beating a man. Advocates want the Justice Department to investigate all of Euclid’s excessive force cases.

Cleveland City Hall reporter Bob Higgs explains how a lawn tractor can close a major city bridge over the Cuyahoga River.

Special Projects editor Laura Johnston has the good news story of the week, the success of the annual campaign of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, which will provide more than 22 million meals to the hungry as a result.

And for fun, freelancer Alex Darus talks about how she came to recommend 73 food trucks and what went into her rating of every flavor of ice cream from Mitchell’s.

New episodes are published Thursday evenings, so you can listen on your Friday morning commute.