The Perfect Enemy | Could partisan hatred cause an Ohio man to kill his neighbor? The Wake Up for Monday, Nov. 21, 2022
December 2, 2022

Could partisan hatred cause an Ohio man to kill his neighbor? The Wake Up for Monday, Nov. 21, 2022

Could partisan hatred cause an Ohio man to kill his neighbor? The Wake Up for Monday, Nov. 21, 2022  cleveland.com

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Every time a reporter posts a story on cleveland.com, I get an email with the link – and usually a headline.

This one, from Cliff Pinckard on the overnight shift, was eye-popping: “Ohio woman tells dispatcher gunman killed her husband because ‘he thought he was a Democrat,’ reports say.”

I clicked. So did readers, who put the story at the top of our charts for days. But was it true? We dispatched crime reporter John Tucker to find out how how poisonous politics can be.

– Laura

Browns vs. Buffalo Bills: Bills bury Browns, 31-23, in Detroit to drop Cleveland to 3-7

Cavs vs. Miami Heat: Cavaliers’ bench steps up in Kevin Love’s absence, torches shorthanded Miami Heat, 113-87

Northeast Ohio Monday weather forecast: Sunny skies, warm temps will melt snow quickly

Political hatred: Three days before the midterm elections, authorities say, Austin Combs got into a dispute with a next-door neighbor who was cutting wood in his yard. The confrontation ended when Combs reportedly fatally shot Anthony King, 43, who didn’t have a weapon. Now, questions swirl around Combs’ motivation — and whether politics were involved. John Tucker found a complicated answer.

Blue neighbors: Ohio Republicans swept every partisan statewide office this month. Meanwhile, the near-opposite happened in Michigan and Pennsylvania. So, what makes Michigan and Pennsylvania – which each have striking similarities to Ohio – so different? Andrew Tobias investigates the relative strengths of the state Republican and Democratic parties, state political culture and disinvestment from national Democrats.

Nursing homes: Ohio lawmakers are considering legislation that could send hundreds of millions in extra money to Ohio’s nursing home industry – a political powerhouse that says its facilities are underwater. Jake Zuckerman reports the money would flow to an industry heavily reliant on state and federal dollars that’s backed by a hefty political machine.

Firefighter killed: A Cleveland firefighter was struck and killed while assisting in a crash on I-90 east at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and a suspect is now in police custody. Megan Sims reports the fatal accident occurred around 8:15 p.m. as members of Engine 22 were responding to a rollover crash near the I-90 exit.

Today in Ohio: Frank LaRose aims to raise the threshold for constitutional amendments to pass, Jim Jordan plans to use his congressional post to investigate President Joe Biden, and Ohio House Republicans want to stop sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications to Ohioans. We’re talking about Republicans’ moves to disenfranchise voters and more on Today in Ohio, cleveland.com’s daily half-hour news podcast.

Former Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste has released a memoir called “In the Heart of It All; An Unvarnished Account of My Life in Public Service.”

Democratic governor? Dick Celeste was Ohio’s last Democratic governor to win reelection. That was in 1986. Sabrina Eaton reports that Celeste is optimistic other Ohio Democrats can do the same by building up a grassroots network of supporters in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Stimulus tax cuts: A federal appellate court on Friday ruled for the administration of President Biden and against Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who was hoping to overturn a prohibition against using coronavirus relief dollars to fund tax cuts. Jake Zuckerman reports Yost filed a lawsuit challenging this prohibition in March 2021, arguing the ban is unconstitutional and overly vague.

Slush funds: Cuyahoga County has already approved most of the spending for its controversial $66 million in COVID-19 stimulus funds. As part of Stimulus Watch, Lucas Daprile breaks down the $48 million in approved spending, just over a third of the county’s $132.6 million allotment.

Jail spending: Four members of Cuyahoga County Council are seeking to take stimulus dollars they’d once set aside for the next county executive and lock them into funding for a new county jail and courthouse. Kaitlin Durbin reports their new ordinance proposes transferring the county’s remaining $53.6 million in uncommitted American Rescue Plan Act dollars into a Justice Center Capital Projects Fund that “shall be used solely to fund acquisition for, construction of, and improvements to” a county jail and courthouse.

Lakefront planning: The City of Cleveland announced Friday that it has selected James Corner Field Operations, the New York-based landscape architecture firm that designed the 2016 renovation of Public Square, to lead a broad new master plan for the city’s downtown lakefront. Steven Litt reports Field Operations is known widely as the co-designer of the High Line, a highly acclaimed linear park built atop a disused elevated rail line in Lower Manhattan.

Fatal fires: Two men died in separate apartment fires in Elyria on Sunday, authorities say. In the first, firefighters found a 53-year-old man dead in a bedroom of an apartment in the 500 block of Georgetown Avenue. In the second fire, a 70-year-old man was found in a bedroom of an apartment in the 100 block of Brunswick Avenue, according to authorities.

Airport parking: Parking is expected to be extremely tight this week at Cleveland Hopkins, with more than a quarter-million passengers predicted to pass through the airport during the 10-day Thanksgiving period. Susan Glaser reports a forecast of about 260,000 travelers passing through Hopkins between Friday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 27, up 11% over last year’s total, but still shy of the 285,000 who traveled in 2019.

Editor’s letter: Cliff Pinckard jokes that his existence is a rumor in our newsroom. There’s evidence of him, but sightings are rare. Cliff is responsible for making sure you get this newsletter every morning, so editor Chris Quinn fills you in on our overnight reporter.

Rental assistance: After two-and-a-half years and distributions totaling tens of millions of dollars, emergency rental assistance tied to the COVID-19 pandemic is ending in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Courtney Astolfi reports those still in need have until Dec. 2 to submit new applications for rental assistance to CHN Housing Partners.

Cleveland’s KeyBank announced that Chief Financial Officer Donald Kimble will retire in May 2023. (Lisa DeJong, Plain Dealer file photo)Lisa DeJong/The Plain Dealer

KeyBank: KeyBank’s Chief Financial Officer Donald Kimble will retire in May, reports Sean McDonnell. Clark Khayat, the company’s chief strategy officer, will move into the chief financial officer role.

Jobs: Ohio gained jobs in October, but saw an uptick in unemployment and less people in the labor force, reports Sean McDonnell. The state added 15,700 jobs, bringing total employment to 5,509,400 jobs in October, from a revised 5,493,700 in September.

Lewy body dementia: When most of us think about dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is what springs to mind. But that’s just one of several brain diseases that produces the symptoms of forgetfulness, confusion, hallucinations, agitation and mood swings that fall under the umbrella of dementia. Gretchen Cuda Kroen reports that an initiative by The National Institutes of Health aims to increase our understanding of a common but less-well-studied form of dementia called Lewy body dementia.

COVID-19 map: All Greater Cleveland counties were designated yellow, for moderate COVID-19 transmission, for the second week in a row on the latest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map. Julie Washington reports that Ohio improved with 73 counties designated green for low COVID-19 spread. It was the most Ohio counties classified green since March.

Excessive force: A Cleveland woman on Thursday accused University Circle police of breaking her arm while officers tried to force her from Lake View Cemetery shortly after the cemetery closed, reports Adam Ferrise. Latoya Wilson, who suffers from bipolar disorder, says she did not resist police officers before they grabbed her by the arms and slammed her to the ground.

Rice discipline: An arbitrator has overturned the city-imposed discipline of a Cleveland police sergeant for her role in the aftermath of Tamir Rice’s killing. John Tucker reports that the arbitrator reversed the two-day suspension without pay of Janell Rutherford, a supervisor called to the scene after the 12-year-old was shot by a police officer on Nov. 22, 2014.

Shanking: Two inmates in the Cuyahoga County Jail are charged with stabbing another inmate with a shank, reports Cory Shaffer. Yalexander Torres Rosario, 39, and Eric Torres, 34, are each charged with two counts of felonious assault in the Sept. 19 stabbing of Parsha Hardman in the ninth-floor pod at the downtown jail.

Dollar Tree: An employee of a Dollar Tree in Euclid who was shot by a suspected shoplifter sued the nationwide chain, saying his supervisor forced him to intervene in a fight outside the store that led to the shooting. Adam Ferrise reports that Marson Wilson’s lawsuit filed in federal court in Cleveland also accuses the dollar-store chain of failing to take steps to keep employees safe.

Funky Winkerbean

Funky Winkerbean morphed from a beloved high school kid through adulthood in Tom Batiuk’s wildly popular “Funky Winkerbean” comic strip. The daily strip will end Dec. 31 after more than 50 years. (Photo courtesy Tom Batiuk)

‘Funky Winkerbean’: When “Funky Winkerbean” artist Chuck Ayers came to Tom Batiuk with news that he wanted to retire, Batiuk saw it as the perfect time to “tie a bow on Funky’s story.” Brenda Cain has an interview with the Northeast Ohio creator.

Pearl Street: Restaurateurs Karen Small and Jill Davis are opening Pearl Street Wine Market & Café in the former space of Flying Fig in Ohio City, reports Paris Wolfe.

‘A Christmas Story’: Despite rumors, the owners of “A Christmas Story” House are not in talks to sell the home and other properties to any of the actors from the 1983 film, reports Paris Wolfe.

Thanksgiving leftovers: Thanksgiving requires turkey. And a big bird means leftovers. Paris Wolfe has ideas from local chefs for dishes to make with the extra turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, yams and more.

House of the Week: Steps from the Towpath Trail and perched on the highest elevation in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, this townhome offers privacy, location and amazing views all at once. Built in 2009, the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home recently hit the market and is priced at $698,500, reports Joey Morona.

Thanks for joining us this week in our redesigned Wake Up format. We appreciate the feedback you provided about our new look. Don’t forget, you can always find the latest Cleveland news by visiting cleveland.com. If you value the hard work of Cleveland journalists, consider becoming an cleveland.com subscriber.

— Curated by Laura Johnston with contributions by Cliff Pinckard

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