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Ohio House Pushes Unfinished, Unbalanced State Budget Off On Senate

Before new state economic indicators came out, the Ohio House today passed a version of the state’s two-year budget, House Bill (HB) 49, that remains hundreds of millions of dollars out of balance, if not more. The vote comes a little more than two weeks after Gov. Kasich and GOP legislative leaders announced they would need to cut close to $1 billion from the bill to maintain a stable, balanced budget. Still, the final version of House Bill 49 approved largely along party lines today fell over $400 million short of being a balanced budget bill by that standard.

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 3:01 PM, 05.16.2017

Refugee Resettlement Challenges And How To Help Locally

The life of a refugee involves tremendous difficulties, which misunderstandings and ignorance only make worse. Lakewood resident Kerissa MacKay helps address these challenges, as a local program coordinator for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). On May 25, MacKay will speak about her work, refugees’ lives, and ways that all of us can help.

MacKay will explore resettlement in the U.S. during a presentation to the Lakewood Democratic Club. She will relate some of the struggles and personal experiences of refugees, before and after resettlement. Her presentation will provide insight into

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 3:01 PM, 05.16.2017

Rose Iron Works - Hidden Cleveland Gem

Overlook Park Neighborhood Association had the wonderful opportunity of taking a field trip of sorts to Rose Iron Works on E. 43rd St. in Cleveland. For over 100 years, Rose Iron Works, a family business, has been known for exceptional quality decorative metalwork. Together with industrial metalworking (started during the Depression to make ends meet), their products range from traditional to Art Deco and Contemporary styles. 

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Volume 13, Issue 9, Posted 4:19 PM, 05.02.2017

Senator Skindell Introduces The Retail And Restaurant Employee Rights Act

State Senator Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) has introduced Senate Bill 101 to provide struggling employees with predictive scheduling and fair treatment in the workplace. Ohioans are known for their hard work ethic and dedication to their jobs. The Retail and Employee Rights Act is necessary to pay Ohio workers the same respect that they put into building a stronger and greater Ohio.
 
In today's post-recession economy, many large retailers are employing part-time workers at relatively low wages, forcing many employees to work multiple jobs. At the same time, retail employers are utilizing "just in-time" scheduling practices and changing schedules the "day of" an employee's work shift. These practices make it difficult for the employees to hold that crucial second job. Employees can only work for multiple employers if they have predictability in scheduling and are treated fairly. The bill also covers workers in fast-food restaurant franchises.
 
"Predictive scheduling protects our most vulnerable workers, those who need to rely on more than one job – either part-time or full-time – to make ends meet,” said Deb Kline, Director at Cleveland Jobs With Justice. “It is impossible for a low wage earner to seek more than one place of employment unless they know the hours their employers are going to require them to work. Erratic scheduling also negatively impacts workers in need of childcare or those who have become caretakers of aging or disabled family members. Cleveland Jobs with Justice hopes that the Ohio Legislature will take action now to protect our workers by passing predictive scheduling."
 

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 5:10 PM, 04.04.2017

Senator Skindell Celebrates National Sunshine Week, Recognizes Need For Access To Public Information

This week, State Senator Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) recognizes National Sunshine Week and the importance of access to public information. This year, Sunshine Week takes place from March 12th-18th. It brings together nonpartisan organizations to inform Americans about public records laws in government. The week’s events focus on accountability, transparency, and open dialogue to foster an environment where government works for the people.
 
“Transparency helps hold our public officials accountable. It provides valuable information for citizens to make informed decisions about their legislators,” said Senator Skindell. “Open government is the cornerstone of our democracy.”
 
Senator Skindell has taken the issue of government accountability and transparency very seriously throughout his career in public service. In 2014, he worked to pass Senate Bill 270, which requires the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to post inspection and compliance reports for service providers online. Allowing families to easily access these reports helps them make the best decisions for the care of their loved ones.
 
In 2015, Senator Skindell introduced a bill to clarify that public money paid from a charter school to an operator or management company still retains its status as public money. This bill was accepted as an amendment into another bill and signed into law. Previously, the Ohio Supreme Court had decided that Ohio law lacked language to keep these dollars public, and ruled that for-profit operators could sell property and keep the funds. With the passage of HB 2 and Senator Skindell’s provision, taxpayer dollars are safeguarded in the event of a school closure.
 
“Public trust can only be earned when the sun is allowed to shine upon government dealings. Our public officials must turn on the lights, open the shutters and raise the blinds,” Senator Skindell added. “Only sunshine will guard our public assets. Only transparent government will protect the people's interests. Only accountability will restore public trust. “

 

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 8:14 PM, 03.21.2017

College Students Lose Exemption From City Income Tax

Lakewood students away at college must file city income tax returns, this year, as a result of new policies adopted in late 2015.

Prior to the revised policies, students living in Lakewood for less than 16 weeks of the year could simply file a Declaration of Exemption. Beginning with the 2016 tax year, however, this changed, and the city’s new Declaration of Exemption omits the line for students.

Lakewood’s government points to state legislation as the reason behind this change. The 2014 HB5 measure imposed a number of changes on municipal income tax. Finance Director Jennifer Pae says that Lakewood considered at length what local revisions this required.

“In response to the uniformity changes at the State level, the City of Lakewood reviewed its income tax ordinances during 2015, and using recommended language developed by the Ohio Municipal League, revised the city's ordinances… to be in compliance,” Pae said in an e-mail.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 8:14 PM, 03.21.2017

Senator Skindell Introduces Transportation Funding Bill

This past week State Senator Michael Skindell (D- Lakewood) introduced Senate Bill 61 to increase state funding to public transportation. The bill would increase General Revenue Fund (GRF) dollars for the remainder of this current fiscal year by $5 million. In the upcoming biennium budget, it would increase the public transportation line item to $25 million in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. It would also increase the use of federal flex funds in the public transportation budget to $50 million in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. 
 
The use of General Revenue Fund (GRF) dollars has radically decreased from $44 million in 2000 to $7.3 in both Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 in the last biennium budget. Currently, the use of federal flex dollars for public transportation is only at $10 million per year.
 
“Public transportation in this state is quite underfunded, with Ohio ranking 47 out of the 50 states. The demands of younger Ohioans, coupled with the increased needs of our low-income and senior citizens, make such low funding unsustainable," said Senator Skindell. "Many low-income workers rely exclusively on public transit to keep a stable job. But these jobs are not exclusively located in urban areas, nor are the people who most use public transit. By providing a more robust system, the state can more adequately promote self-sustainability and independence. A better investment in affordable public transportation will best serve the needs of all citizens."
 
“The proposed bill to flex $50 million in highway funds to help replace bus vehicles is welcome news to RTA and all transit systems in Ohio,” said Joe Calabrese, CEO and General Manager of Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA). “Across this state, more than $400 million is needed today to replace outdated vehicles. It’s critical that this bill obtains widespread support.”
 

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 6:18 PM, 03.07.2017

Senator Skindell Introduces Income Tax Reform Bill to Assist Struggling Ohioans

COLUMBUS - Today, Senator Michael Skindell (D–Lakewood) introduced Senate Bill 35, which reforms Ohio's Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to assist struggling Ohioans.  When passed in 2013, after years of advocacy by Senator Skindell, Ohio's EITC contained a cap and was not refundable.  Senate Bill 35 makes the tax credit stronger by removing the income restrictions and making it refundable.
 
“The goal of this proposed legislation is to allow for a refundable tax-relief benefit to working families in Ohio, particularly lower-income households.  It is imperative that we provide these families who work so hard and still struggle to pay bills a fair shot in our economy,” said Senator Skindell.
 
The EITC currently exists as a credit for taxpayers whose Ohio adjusted gross income exceeds $20,000. The state credit equals 10% of the federal EITC. Ohio's EITC cannot currently exceed 50% of the tax due.  The credit is also nonrefundable, thus it can only result in a reduction or elimination of tax liability, not a refund.
 
The existing provisions make our state EITC one of the weakest in the nation. Removing the income restrictions and making the EITC refundable would boost family income and assist poor communities by stimulating local economies. When low-income families receive their refund checks with an EITC, they purchase groceries, childcare, school supplies and other goods and services. This not only helps the families, it also boosts the local economy. 
 

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Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 6:40 PM, 02.21.2017

St. Mark On Track To Raise $50K For Pediatric Cancer Research

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, will host one of its signature head-shaving events for the fourth year at St. Mark School in Cleveland on March 10, 2017, where nearly 100 students, staff, parents, and other family members will shave their heads in solidarity with kids with cancer and raise money to conquer childhood cancers.

St. Mark last year raised $49,552 and this year organizers hope to hit $50,000. The school is nearly a halfway to meeting that goal. In the past three years, St. Mark has raised $145,000 for pediatric cancer research. Besides soliciting donations from the community and local businesses, participants are also holding bake sales and restaurant fundraisers in support of St. Baldrick’s and the Shave Your Mane event. Hair salons such as Sports Clips Illusions Unlimited, Dante Lucci are donating stylists to shave the manes.

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Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 6:40 PM, 02.21.2017

Rep. Antonio Again To Serve As Top Democrat On House Health Committee

As your State Representative, it is an honor to serve house District 13, consider the many views and interests of our diverse and vibrant community and bring your voice to the Statehouse in Columbus. We know that the laws made in Columbus have a direct impact on our lives in Lakewood. To help make the lawmaking process more efficient and thorough, pieces of legislation, once introduced and then assigned to issue-specific committees, are vetted through committee hearings where testimony and expert opinion on each bill are presented. 

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 4:24 PM, 02.07.2017

Our Friend Dennis Petkac Has So Much To Live For!

Our friend Dennis is a longtime Lakewood resident and owner of Elements Hair Studio on Madison Ave. He’s also dad, a husband, and a pretty damn good musician. Most of all Dennis is a kind, sweet, jovial, creative and generous dear friend to many who are lucky to know him and call him friend. He’s also THE best damn story-teller you'd ever want holding court at your party.

2016 was somewhat of an unpleasant year for many and it hit Dennis, his wife Karen and son Olliver especially hard. Beginning some years ago, Dennis and his family have had to overcome several misfortunes which in recent years included some serious family health issues, an abrupt lease termination to his business Elements Hair Studio and a fire to a building under renovation which was to be the new Lakewood home to Elements Hair Studio. Through all these and other hardships, I and many who know Dennis have watched him take it all on and get right back up with few complaints. More striking than each episode of adversity has been seeing Dennis face it all down with few complaints and a casual, confident attitude of just knowing that somehow things are going to be even better. We could all learn something from this.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 2:16 PM, 01.24.2017

Renewable Energy Power-Up For Northeast Ohio

You’re purchasing a lot more renewable energy this year, most likely, thanks to the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC).

Beginning this month, NOPEC member cities including Lakewood are changing their default electricity supplier, from FirstEnergy Solutions to NextEra. It’s a nearly invisible transition for the individual household; bills still arrive from The Illuminating Company, rates aren’t increasing, and there is no action to complete. Unless you opt out of it, your electric bill payments automatically go toward 50% renewable power, now.

This places NOPEC and its membership well ahead of Ohio’s current goal—which recently went back into force after a two-year “freeze”—of 12.5% electricity from renewable sources by 2027. The partnership with NextEra effectively leapfrogs that goal in replacing FirstEnergy Solutions, which supplied renewable content of only a few percent.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 2:16 PM, 01.24.2017

Twilight's Last Gleaming

As I write this, we are less than 21 hours until the Trump Regime takes over in Washington. As I posted on November 9, I fear that there will be dark and troubled times.

In recent weeks it has occurred to me that Lakewood is a preview of Trump's Administration. There are many parallels between Team Trump and Team Summers. So perhaps we shouldn't be too alarmed by Trump...We have already seen many of his tactics locally. As the Bible says, "There is nothing new under the Sun."

Here are some of the parallels I've noticed.

*Both Summers and Trump are members of the "Lucky Sperm Club," comprised of heirs that inherited the family business from their parents.

*Despite acquiring their wealth via family, both have convinced voters that they are "smart businessmen."
*Both ran campaigns touting themselves as "successful businessmen" running against "career politicians."

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 1:46 PM, 01.24.2017

Our First Stand To Save Health Care

Sunday, more than 400 people came to the SEIU 1199 headquarters on E. 30th St. to rally and protest together- to stand up and demand that healthcare should be a right! The first round of applause went to the first speaker Steve Holecko of the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus (CCPC), “We will not be satisfied when healthcare is merely protected; we want universal care!” Dave Pavlick of the Single Payer Action Network (SPAN) and Representative, D-District 13, Nickie Antonio also delivered remarks about moving towards a Medicare for all or single payer model and fighting back against Medicare voucher programs. 

The Northshore AFL-CIO teamed up with CCPC to sponsor the event which was called for by three of the top democrats in the country: Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Columbus and Akron also had similar events and many more were happening all over the country. At the meeting, we collected over 100 hand-written narratives regarding the importance of our healthcare that will be sent to Rob Portman this week.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 1:46 PM, 01.24.2017

Antonio: Complex Bridge Rehab Project Moves Forward

Last month State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) announced the release of $345,287 in state funding to complete construction contract plans for the rehabilitation of the State Route 176 southbound bridge over Interstate Route 71 southbound in Cuyahoga County. The Controlling Board, a panel tasked with oversight of state spending, approved the funding at today’s meeting.

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 8:12 PM, 01.10.2017

“#Change2017” Investment And Retirement

Happy 2017! This past year may be one the most memorable in recent generations. “Change” might be the key word heading into 2017. “Change” will apply to: The Presidency, one party controls both the Executive/Legislative branches of government, Interest Rates, countless regulations across the board, and the Affordable Care Act, to name but a few. 

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 8:12 PM, 01.10.2017

Antonio: Vetoes Of Two Bills Necessary

The phrase “lame-duck” describes the period of time after an election but before the end of the General Assembly – November and December of an election year. During this time, there is a rush to pass pending legislation before the end of the year

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 8:12 PM, 01.10.2017

Senator Skindell Honored To Cast Vote To Give John Glenn Rare Statehouse Tribute

Today, I joined my colleagues on the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board in voting to allow former astronaut and U. S. Senator John Glenn to lie in state at the Ohio Statehouse. Glenn died Thursday at the age of 95. The honor is normally reserved for current and former governors, statewide office holders and members of the legislature. So, it was necessary for the Board to meet this morning to grant an exemption. 
 
The Glenn family made the request and I was honored to make a motion at the board meeting to fulfill their wishes for a Statehouse tribute to a remarkable man and a true American hero.
 
Members of the public were able to pay their respects to Senator Glenn when he lied in state on Friday, December 16 in the Statehouse rotunda. The New Concord, Ohio native and Marine Corps combat pilot became the first American to orbit the earth before he served 24 years in the United States Senate.
 

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Volume 12, Issue 26, Posted 8:36 PM, 12.20.2016

Dead Flowers: A Small Consideration On The Heroin Pandemic

“Well when you're sitting back
in your rose-pink Cadillac
Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day
I'll be in my basement room
with a needle and a spoon
And another girl to take my pain away.”

- Mick Jagger/Keith Richards – Dead Flowers

[In the following personal stories, names have been changed for the sake of discretion.]

STEVEN WAS IN THE BACK SEAT when he noticed Amir, riding shotgun, opening his backpack and beginning to assemble his gear. Andy was driving. The three, all around 22, were heading out toward Nelson’s Ledges, getting high on sour diesel, with no destination in mind. “Pull up over here,” Amir told Andy.

“Dude,” said Andy. “You’re not doing that right now.”

“Duuuuude,” mimicked Amir. “Pull up over here.”

Andy finally did so as Amir proceeded with an air of ritual, one which Steven had never seen in person. Amir did his thing—the alcohol swab, the cook, the vein reconnaissance, the tie-off, the spike, the injection—Steven and Andy watching from their respective spots, mesmerized by the flow of motion, the concentration of purpose.

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Volume 12, Issue 25, Posted 7:29 PM, 12.06.2016

Analysis Shows Ohio Workers Will Suffer From GOP Unemployment Compensation Plan

State Senator Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) recently spoke out against proposed changes to Ohio’s unemployment compensation fund because the legislation unfairly punishes workers. A fiscal analysis of SB 374, conducted by the non-partisan Legislative Service Commission (LSC), found that the financial burden for getting the unemployment fund to solvency would fall 83% on workers and only 17% on business owners.

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Volume 12, Issue 25, Posted 7:29 PM, 12.06.2016

“Christmas Secret”

I know a Christmas Secret,

I think all of you should know,

And being the nice guy that I am,

This secret, I’m going to show;

It’s all about “Light Up Lakewood”,

And why it shows up every year,

Plus all the work that makes it great,

That brings this Christmas cheer;

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 4:35 PM, 11.22.2016

Year-End Tips for Financial Housekeeping

As we enter the end of the year, there are many things on people’s minds. Sure, there are the upcoming holidays, but there are many financial decisions that must be addressed. I’ve put together just a few for you to consider:

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Volume 12, Issue 23, Posted 3:38 PM, 11.09.2016

Love Trumps Fear

What’s next? Are you wandering well beyond your spiritual upbringing? Might the realities of our current violent culture and war orientation be bringing you pain, suffering, and questioning? Are you energized by efforts of healing, peacemaking and art? There are myriad ways to move into a future for yourself (and because of yourself) in cooperation, peacemaking, art, imagination, and wonder. Have faith, avoid certainty. The world has already been saved. These are days to be heroic in waging creativity and healing with the same intensity as those who seek to divide us and keep us afraid of each other.

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Volume 12, Issue 23, Posted 3:38 PM, 11.09.2016

Rep. Antonio Recognized As Legislator Of The Year

State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) received recognition as the Legislator of the Year by the Buckeye Art Therapy Association at the organization's 35th Annual Symposium earlier this month. The Lakewood lawmaker was recognized for her significant contributions to the improvement and advancement of art therapy in Ohio.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 5:52 PM, 10.25.2016

State Can, Should Do More To Combat Statewide Opioid Emergency

Democratic lawmakers from the Ohio House and Senate held a press conference earlier this month pushing for legislative action to combat the worsening statewide opioid emergency. Senate Democratic Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and state Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) and Greta Johnson (D-Akron) pushed for the legislature and the governor to finish work on Senate Bill (SB) 319, opioid and heroin omnibus legislation that the Senate passed before the summer recess but has since stalled in the House.

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Volume 12, Issue 21, Posted 4:56 PM, 10.11.2016

Lakewood Community Loses Beloved Pediatrician At Age 95

Some of my earliest memories place me naively waiting in a Lakewood doctor’s office waiting area, playing with cardboard bricks that we begged our parents to get for us. I was blissfully unaware of the next shot (1, 2, 3 this will hurt!) nor really aware of how good our family had it going to Dr. McEvoy for our pediatrician visits. In hindsight the good was obvious, because “Bowtie Bob” would also take calls at his home, stop by your house, ask mom to put a sick kid on the phone so he could listen to them, call in prescriptions and in many ways, help parents to learn how to be parents by teaching them to trust their instincts.

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Volume 12, Issue 21, Posted 4:56 PM, 10.11.2016

Democratic Lawmakers Recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month

State Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Janine R. Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) today introduced a bipartisan resolution to recognize October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Ohio. Advocates with the Ohio Domestic Violence Network today gathered to present an annual report of Ohio Domestic Fatality Data at a press conference in the state capitol.

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Volume 12, Issue 21, Posted 4:56 PM, 10.11.2016

Rep. Antonio Reacts To Denial Of Ohio’s Medicaid Waiver Application

Ohio House Health and Aging Ranking Member and State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) released the following statement on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) denial of the state’s request to charge premiums for Ohio’s Medicaid Program, regardless of age. The federal decision cited concerns that such charges undermine access to coverage and the affordability of care, and do not support the objectives of the Medicaid program.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 5:03 PM, 09.27.2016

Representative Antonio Calls On Kasich To Declare Opioid Crisis A Statewide Public Health Emergency

State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) called on the Governor John Kasich to recognize the devastating opioid addiction epidemic for what it is: a public health emergency. At a statehouse press conference last week, the lawmakers said the state must have a strong, unified response and release emergency state funding to combat the statewide opioid crisis that is claiming lives in rural areas and urban centers alike.

“Local addiction service providers are doing everything they can to prevent the opioid addiction crisis from overtaking our communities, but they have been pushed to capacity and their resources have been drained,” said Minority Whip Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “The state can’t just rely on local communities to take on the opioid crisis alone. We need to call this what it is – a statewide public health emergency. The lives of Ohioans are at stake and we cannot afford to wait.”

  

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Volume 12, Issue 19, Posted 5:46 PM, 09.13.2016

Senator Skindell Receives The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Leader Award

Senator Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) recently accepted The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Leader Award.“It is an exceptional honor to be selected for this award. The Nature Conservancy has been a notable leader in the conservation movement,” said Senator Skindell. “I have made it a top priority in my time in the legislature to make sure our diverse natural resources are protected and restored, and I will continue to do so.”
 
The Nature Conservancy is an organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of the lands and water in order to sustain the diversity of life. The Conservation Leader Award is presented in recognition of exceptional leadership in advancing state conservation and environmental policy issues that improve the quality of life for all Ohioans.
 

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Volume 12, Issue 18, Posted 4:10 PM, 08.30.2016

An Insider's View Of The DNC Convention In Philly

WWE SmackDown was coming to Cleveland, and a friend of mine and I thought it would be hilarious to get ringside tickets. I’ve never really followed the show but found the whole “sport” intriguing and hysterical. We made sure to get some wrestling t-shirts so that we would fit in and headed downtown.

Expecting to attend a sporting-type event, I was taken aback to find myself on the set of a TV show...a drama. 80%-90% of the 10,000 or so seats in the arena were roped off and blacked out. Only four or five sections on the first level were open, and maybe 1,000 or 1,500 people were in attendance. The producers moved people around for the best optics. They told us when to hold up signs, and when to cheer. They also had a few signs, shirts and hats on hand to give to people in strategic places. The whole experience was curated, managed and as fake as the “sport” itself. Yet, I still had a great time.

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Volume 12, Issue 17, Posted 6:39 PM, 08.02.2016

Confessions Of An RNC Uber Driver

I'm an Uber driver from Lakewood. In fact, I came to drive for Uber largely because Cleveland was the host of the Republican National Convention. Sure, it was an chance to make some extra money, but, moreover, it was an opportunity to engage in democracy at the most fundamental level. Below are a series of confessions drawn from my experiences, which were originally sent as text messages to my family and friends throughout the week of the RNC.    

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Volume 12, Issue 16, Posted 6:37 PM, 08.02.2016

Public Libraries In Cuyahoga County Raise Dialogue About Social Change

As communities grapple with the social implications of the shootings in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas in the past month, libraries across the United States are stepping up to offer resources and support. Issues of race, prejudice, inequity, and violence are challenging topics, but they must be addressed in open, safe and productive conversations if we wish to move forward as a nation. As President Obama stated in his July 12 speech in Dallas, “…if we cannot even talk about these things, if we cannot talk honestly and openly, not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with those who look different than us or bring a different perspective, then we will never break this dangerous cycle.”

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Volume 12, Issue 16, Posted 6:37 PM, 08.02.2016

New Political Group Takes Root In Lakewood

As you already know, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently endorsed Hillary Clinton for the democratic nomination. This left many political observers wondering what will become of Bernie’s enthusiastic corps of volunteers. The NEO for Bernie operation, which has hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors, has transitioned into the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus (CCPC), a countywide group that will be based here in Lakewood.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 4:38 PM, 07.19.2016

Senator Skindell Announces Affordable Senior Living Tax Credits

Today, Senator Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) announced that the Ohio Housing Finance Agency has awarded $10,000,000 in Low Income Housing Tax Credits to Westerly Senior Housing for its Westerly II apartments. Senator Skindell had sent a letter of support on behalf of Westerly Apartments, applauding their desire to expand and improve affordable senior living throughout the district.

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 4:11 PM, 07.06.2016

Annual Summer Supper Of The Lakewood Democratic Club With Guest Speaker, Margaret Wong

The Lakewood Democratic Club is happy to announce that the Annual Summer Supper will be held next month in the Gardens at the Clifton Club on July 13th at 6pm, featuring special guest speaker, US Immigration Attorney and Cleveland philanthropist, Margaret Wong. Ms. Wong, author of “The Immigrant’s Way” will address the timely topic, Immigration Myth & Reality in Election 2016.

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Volume 12, Issue 13, Posted 8:13 PM, 06.21.2016

Hillary Clinton National Security Visit In Cleveland

A political rally to unify the country became a somber and reflective event centered on National Security and the hate crime in Orlando. Democratic Presidential Nominee, Hillary Clinton, outlined her plan to defeat the Isis terrorist group on the battleground, identify lone wolves, pushing our security partners to do more and supporting First Responders in our communities. Secretary Clinton will also work with business owners to develop a plan to protect soft targets from mass shootings as president.

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Volume 12, Issue 13, Posted 8:13 PM, 06.21.2016

Senator Skindell Introduces Ohio Patient Protection Act

State Senator Michael Skindell (D- Lakewood) recently introduced Senate Bill 324 to increase patient safety by setting limits on the number of patients a registered nurse (RN) may care for at one time. The ratio requirements will be based on the seriousness of the condition being treated or the medical procedure that the respective patient is undergoing.  
 
The legislation would require a minimum, numerical nurse-to-patient ratio with a requirement that additional nurses be added when needed. Some of the more critical procedures for which the requirement would be one nurse to one patient are patients in an operating room, a trauma or critical care patient, an unstable newborn or one in a resuscitation period. An intermediate ratio level for which one nurse would be caring for three patients would include pediatric units and pregnant patients who are not in active labor. The ratio would go down to a one nurse to five patient threshold for such patients as infants in nurseries.
 

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Volume 12, Issue 12, Posted 5:02 PM, 06.07.2016

Northeast Ohio Lawmakers Announce Naming Of The Governor Richard F. Celeste Shoreway

State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and State Senator Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) today applauded the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 159, which designates a portion of State Route 2 – also known as the West Shoreway, beginning in Lakewood and connecting to Cleveland – as the Richard F. Celeste Shoreway.
 
“I am pleased to announce the passage of this bill, which honors hometown public servant Richard F. Celeste and his career of service to our state,” said Rep. Antonio. “The naming of this portion of the shoreway celebrates an outstanding governor and the Celeste family’s legacy of public service to Ohio.”
 
Richard F. Celeste served two terms as Ohio governor from 1983 to 1991. Governor Celeste and his brother, former Representative Ted Celeste, are both natives of Lakewood, Ohio. Their father, Frank P. Celeste, served two terms as mayor of Lakewood from 1956 to1963.

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Volume 12, Issue 12, Posted 5:02 PM, 06.07.2016

Local Churches Joining Habitat For Humanity For Apostle Build Project

Members from Lakewood United Methodist Church and Lakewood Presbyterian are joining with other volunteers in a Habitat for Humanity project in the Buckeye neighborhood. They will be building three homes on May 14, August 27, and September 17. Call the church office of Lakewood United Methodist Church at 216-226-8644 or email pastorlaura@lkwdumc.org with questions or to register. 

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 4:51 PM, 05.24.2016

Senator Skindell Promotes Railroad Safety With Senate Resolution 443

To promote railroad safety, State Senator Michael Skindell (D- Lakewood) recently introduced Senate Resolution 443, which calls for the passage of a proposed rule from the Federal Railroad Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation to require all railroad crews to be two-person. If approved, the rule will be a part of the Code of Federal Regulations and will mandate the two-person crew on railroads nationwide.
 
The resolution states that a freight train crew member is currently required to work 12 continuous hours of service. Because the train is constantly moving, there is no time for the crew member to rest. And while advancements in automated technology such as Positive Train Control systems improve railroad safety, they are not a substitute for additional crew members. Having a two-person crew minimizes the likelihood of train-related accidents.
 
“The proposed rule by the Federal Railroad Administration is vitally important for the safety of our communities,” said Senator Skindell. “Trains carry goods and materials all over our state and intersect with our neighborhoods on a daily basis. Requiring a two-person crew puts in place a necessary safeguard. I hope, with this resolution, Ohio will add its voice to this important issue.”

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 4:51 PM, 05.24.2016

Proposed Legislation Discourages Non-Essential State Travel To North Carolina

State Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) and State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) this week introduced a resolution urging all state employees and officials to refrain from engaging in non-essential official state travel to North Carolina. The resolution comes in response to the passage of the controversial bathroom access law in North Carolina that critics, and now the U.S. Department of Justice, say allows discrimination against LGBT individuals.

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 4:51 PM, 05.24.2016

Gloria Steinem Joins Women Lawmakers For Day At The Statehouse

Celebrated feminist, journalist discusses Ohio issues during “Real Talk” forum

The Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus (OHDWC) last month hosted nationally renowned American feminist, activist and journalist Gloria Steinem for a series of events at the Ohio Statehouse. Born in Toledo, Ohio, Gloria Steinem was a key figure during the women’s rights movement of the late 1960’s and has received numerous bestselling book awards for her writing on women’s issues on personal, national and global levels.

“She reminded us today that we must not think of the world in terms of a hierarchy, with rankings above one another, but as an interconnected web,” said House Democratic Whip Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood). “This hierarchical view has allowed government to slowly chip away at women’s reproductive rights and autonomy, affecting their partners, children and families as a whole. I am pleased to have been part of this important discussion today and I hope that we can come together as a society to stop these fundamentally unjust attacks against women and their reproductive freedoms.”

Steinem spent the day in Columbus with members of the OHDWC and took time to meet with staff in the morning.

“Gloria Steinem is an inspiring hero and role-model for women in Ohio and across the nation,” said Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), chair of the OHDWC. “From the gender wage gap, to restrictions on women’s access to healthcare, to outdated and incomplete laws against rape, many of the challenges women in Ohio face today are the same issues Gloria has been fighting against and raising awareness of for decades. The challenges we face in Ohio are certainly real, but they are not insurmountable if we come together, speak with one voice and make a stand.”

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 3:33 PM, 05.10.2016

Change The World With Lakewood United Methodist Church

United Methodists from all over the world will participate in "Change the World" projects to make a difference by service to others on Saturday, May 14th and Sunday, May 15th. Members from Lakewood United Methodist Church may select activities with other volunteers to begin building Habitat for Humanity's three homes in the Buckeye neighborhood, or they may join forces with Lakewood Alive to paint Lakewood homes, or work in the gardens to beautify the property of the church located at the corner of Summit and Detroit. Any volunteer is welcome to join with church members to Make a Difference in the world. Call the church office at 216-226-8644 to register. 

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Volume 12, Issue 10, Posted 3:33 PM, 05.10.2016

Presidential Candidates Must Outline Clear Budget Priorities

In less than a year, a new president will be inaugurated. The voters of Ohio will have a major role to play in determining who occupies that office. 

Choosing a candidate for President should involve moving beyond rhetoric to an evaluation of concrete plans. The best clue for assessing what the President will actually do once he or she is in the White House is the kind of budget they plan to submit to Congress. What are their priorities, and how do they plan to pay for them?

One central component of any budget proposal will involve how much to spend on defending the nation. A number of candidates have called for sharp increases in the Pentagon budget, arguing that our military has “hollowed out” over the past eight years due to a lack of adequate funding.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The United States spends more on its military than the next fourteen countries in the world combined, many of which are U.S. allies. And President Obama has allocated more to the Pentagon than President George W. Bush did in his two terms in office.

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 3:24 PM, 04.26.2016

Democratic Lawmakers Announce State Support For Key Community Projects

Capital budget bill to allocate funds for economic, cultural improvements

House Minority Whip Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and State Senator Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) today announced several important community projects will receive state support through the recently introduced capital budget. The Variety Theatre, the Lake Link Trail and Wendy Park, and the Irish Town Bend are some of the major projects in the Lakewood area expected to receive state funds.

“We will continue the hard work of securing resources that add to the economic health and well-being of our district,” said Antonio. “It is an honor to be a part of this capital budget process, and I will continue to insist that these funds stay committed to necessary projects that ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for the region.”

The capital budget bill currently includes $1.65 million to finance hard construction and demolition costs to transform the Variety Theatre into a new town center for the Westown neighborhood in Cleveland. In addition, a new $1 million bridge will link the 1.3 mile urban multi-purpose path Lake Link Trail to Wendy Park thanks to state funds, creating lakefront access to the residents of Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas counties. The Irish Town bend is also slated to receive $2.5 million to install steel reinforcement bulkheads.

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 3:24 PM, 04.26.2016

Local H&R Block Offices Pitch in Harvest For Hunger Campaign

Dan Norman, district general manager for H&R Block, is pleased to announce his offices’ involvement with the Harvest for Hunger Campaign. Just as taxpayers should consider their tax situation throughout the year, H&R Block’s associates also recognize charitable organizations need support all year long.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 4:37 PM, 04.12.2016

Swim-A-Thon Benefits Two Organizations

Girls with Sole and the Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River were the beneficiaries of support from the sixth annual Swim-a-Thon held on March 13 at the Rocky River Recreation Center pools.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 4:37 PM, 04.12.2016

Tri-C Begins New Speaker Series In Westlake Focused On Women In Science And Technology

“Women in Science and Technology” will be the focus of a new speaker series debuting in April at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) in Westlake.

The series includes four free Thursday night programs at Tri-C’s Corporate College West, located at 25425 Center Ridge Road in Westlake. The programs will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. in Room 305.

At each presentation, speakers from the College and community will share information and perspectives on women working in the fields of science and technology. Each program will conclude with a question-and-answer session.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 4:44 PM, 03.29.2016