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Ohio Congresswoman Emilia Sykes introduces clean water bill amendment in response to East Palestine, Ohio train derailment that caused a toxic chemical explosion and environmental and water problems for residents

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By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor-in-chief

WASHINGTON, D.C- Ohio 13th Congressional District Congresswoman Emilia Strong Sykes (OH-13), an Akron, Ohio Democrat and member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment who was elected to Congress during the November midterm elections, recently introduced an amendment to H.R. 1152, a bill that would limit states' authority to review and approve federal projects that might harm a community's water quality.

It comes behind two high profile train derailments by Norfolk Southern in Ohio over the past month or so, the first on Feb 3 in East Palestine that caused a chemical explosion that drew activist Erin Brockovich, former president Donald Trump, and prominent Ohio Republican politicians like Gov. Mike DeWine and U.S. Sen J.D. Vance to the village of some 4,700 residents. Vance and U.S. Sen Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat and seasoned member of Congress, are also urging passage by Congress of the bipartisan rail safety bill the pair introduced.  President Joe Biden has also been vocal on the issue and has pledged that he too will visit East Palestine at one point or another.

Rep. Sykes' amendment would restore some of a state's ability to protect its drinking water.

"No American should have to worry about whether their drinking water is safe when they turn on the tap water," said Rep. Sykes. "I've visited East Palestine twice in the last two weeks to assess the long-term impact of the Norfolk Southern train derailment and subsequent chemical spill on our region's drinking water and the Ohio River."

The Congresswoman went on to say that "I've spoken to residents worried about the safety of their drinking water— residents who are asking lawmakers of both parties to take action to ensure this tragedy doesn't happen again. H.R. 1152, which would make it more difficult for local governments to review actions impacting water quality, is not what the people of East Palestine asked us to do."

Other members of Congress are on board in supporting H.R.1152.

"Protecting clean water is critical to public health and the environment, and enables businesses who rely on clean water to thrive," said Rep.Rick Larsen, a Democrat representing Washington's second congressional district. "I applaud Rep. Sykes' work to ensure communities have access to clean, safe water, and that states have the power to maintain high water quality standards."

If H.R. 1152 is enacted, the legislation would require states like Ohio and other states to take precautions relative to infrastructure projects and to take into account the potential for a pipeline to leak dangerous chemicals into the groundwater, as well as pollution factors and toxic runoffs.

The congresswoman also has support for her clean water bill amendment from regular Ohio citizens who want clean water and a safe and clean environment for their communities too.

"Congresswoman Sykes is eminently qualified to lead this, having earned a graduate degree in public health in addition to her law degree," said Richard Dick Perry of Shaker Hts, Ohio, who is a retired Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper reporter and a community activist.

In spite of some evacuations and fears from residents, the Environmental Protection Agency claims that the East Palestine train derailment that occurred on Feb 3 poses no serious harm to the community Others, like activist Erin Brokovich, disagreed, Brockovich saying to reporters after visiting East Palestine earlier this month"clean  water my ass." and, the most read Black digital newspaper in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 March 2023 07:53

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder convicted in $60 million bribery scheme along with former state Republican Party chair Matt Borges....By, Ohio's Black digital news leader

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By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor in chief.

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Former Ohio House of Representatives speaker Larry Householder and lobbyist and former state Republican Party chairman Matt Borges were convicted on Thursday by a Cincinnati jury of their peers in what prosecutors say is a $60 million bribery scheme involving House Bill 6, two nuclear power plants, and greedy right wing politicians and GOP businessmen, a bribery scheme orchestrated to pass a $1.3 billion bailout of the two nuclear power plants.

The federal jury found the pair guilty of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise involving bribery and money laundering in Ohio's largest ever corruption case The verdict came after about 9-1/2 half hours of deliberations over the course of two days. The trial began on Jan 23, though indictments were issued some two and a half years ago. And while Householder, 63, took the stand to testify in his own defense Borges did not, after prosecutors made a fool of Householder during cross examination.

Householder and Borges, 50, both face up to 20 years in prison and both have said that they plan to appeal. Neither showed any emotion when the jury verdict was read. Several other co-defendants await trial.

While Borges' attorney has not commented publicly on the stinging verdict Householder's attorney was eager to comment and said that he and his client are currently reviewing his options.

"We are incredibly disappointed in the verdict," Householder's attorney Steven Bradley said in a statement on Thursday.

Prosecutors were elated with the ouysome of the case.

"Through its verdict today, the jury reaffirmed that the illegal acts committed by both men will not be tolerated and that they should be held accountable," said Kenneth Parker, the U.S. District attorney for the Southern District of Ohio who helped to prosecute the celebrated case.

An FBI agent testified in the case and broke it wide open saying that Householder pocketed $500,000 from the bribery scheme, if not more. Special Agent Blane Wetzel also told the jury three weeks into the trial that Borges purportedly got $366,000 and Jeff Longstreth, a former Householder advisor, and Juan Cespede,  two of Householder's co-defendants, allegedly stole some $3.2 million between them.

FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron and two of its Ohio nuclear power plants are at the core of the  case, which has gained national attention and has touched nearly every major Republican political player in Ohio, including Gov Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRrose and state attorney general David Yost. They have not been charged in the ongoing legal saga and have been mum since Thursday's verdict came down

Described in a damning complaint filed in federal district court by the U.S. district attorney's office, Householder and  FirstEnergy Corp, and a host of others, stood or stand accused of scheming to steal taxpayer monies under the guise of a nuclear power plant bailout in one of the worst bribery schemes in Ohio history. At the center of the controversy is Householder's relationship with FirstEnergy Corp officials and a $1.3 billion financial rescue legislation dubbed HB 6 , a state law adopted in 2019 that added an additional fee to every electricity bill in the state That state electricity surcharge was to generate some $150 million annually in payments for seven years to subsidize FirstEnergy’s two failing Ohio nuclear plants (Perry and Davis-Besse) and was mired in public corruption, prosecutors say. State lawmakers repealed part of HB6 last March with support from the governor.

Householder stood accused of using some $100,000 in bribery money, part of $500,000 in illegal monies the FBI confiscated from his personal accounts, for costs on his home in Florida. His co-conspirators got hundreds of thousands of dollars too, if not millions. And FirstEnergy officials were obliged to fund the  bribery scheme, according to the complaint.

David DeVillers, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and Parker's predecessor, called the case one of the worst misuses of Ohio tax-payer money in American history, and public corruption and money laundering of mass proportions. More than a dozen others, practically all of them Republican operatives, have also been arrested and charged in connection with the now infamous bailout fiasco.

FirstEnergy helped finance Householder's election in 2018, the complaint says, coupled with bankrolling a successful effort led by the former House speaker to get the Republican-dominated general assembly to pass HB6, which was supported by only 10 House Democrats.

Householder and Borges were once two of the top influential Republicans in Ohio, until authorities came lurking around, including the FBI, and the IRS.

A Republican political consultant and ally to former Ohio GOP governor John Kasich, Borges was chair of the state GOP party from 2013 until former president Donald Trump assumed office in January of 2017. He is a Trump critic and lobbied against the former president's failed reelection bid in 2020.


Republicans and Democrats alike removed the former House speaker from office in June of 2021, and before his trial,  the House voting 75-21 to expel the embattled state representative for his role in the multi-million dollar pay-to-play scheme The House had voted 90-0 in July of 2020 to remove Householder as speaker, a week after he and four other Republican affiliates, including Borges, were arrested in the case.

Householder is the first member to be expelled from the Ohio House of Representatives in 164 years, He called his expulsion while his criminal case is pending undemocratic and said the basis for it, disorderly conduct, is ludicrous. And he called it a disrespect to voters.

"They have taken away the vote of the 72nd house district and disenfranchised voters," Householder told reporters after his expulsion

But state House Democrats, led by then minority leader Emilia Sykes, now a congresswoman out of Akron, said then that it was long overdue and should have been done sooner, and some Republican state lawmakers angry with the former speaker's misgivings echoed the sentiment.

Republican Brian Steward co-sponsored the expulsion resolution and told reporters after it passed that if bribery, money laundering and racketeering are not disorderly conduct then what is.  Robert Culp, a Republican and speaker of the House at the time also pushed  expulsion of his former ally. He said then that "now we can put this behind us."

Culp was succeeded earlier this year as House speaker by Rep Jason Stephens, a rural southern Ohio Republican.


By Kathy Wray Coleman, associate publisher, editor in chief. Coleman trained for 17 years as a reporter with the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland Ohio and is an investigative and political reporter with a background in legal and scientific reporting. She is also a former 15-year public school biology teacher. and, the most read Black digital newspaper in Ohio and in the Midwest. Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 March 2023 04:19

City of Cleveland files federal lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai for failure to install industry standard anti-theft technology....Mayor Justin M. Bibb says the city will use the full weight of the law to hold these manufacturers accountable

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Mayor Justin M.Bibb says the city will use the full weight of the law to hold these manufacturers accountable

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 – CLEVELAND-Ohio – Yesterday afternoon, the City of Cleveland filed a lawsuit in federal court against car manufacturers Kia and Hyundai for their failure to install industry standard anti-theft technology in millions of their vehicles, which has contributed to an exponential increase of Kia and Hyundai car theft in Cleveland and other regions.

Between October and December 2022, a reported 1,203 Hyundai and Kia vehicles were stolen in Cleveland. For December alone, vehicle theft of Hyundais and Kias accounted for 65 percent of total vehicle theft in the city.

"It is our position the Kia and Hyundai prioritized profit over people by not installing engine immobilizers in these vehicles," said Mayor Justin M. Bibb. "It is unacceptable for our city and our residents to bear the burden of this irresponsible and dangerous decision."

Studies by the Highway Loss data Institute regularly show that vehicle theft losses significantly decreased after the introduction of immobilizer devices. Despite this, only 26 percent of the 2015 vehicle series for Hyundai and Kia models were equipped with standard immobilizers, compared to 96 percent of all other makes combined.

The absence of engine immobilizers in certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles has made those vehicles incredibly susceptible to theft. Recently, this susceptibility led to a viral social media trend, where offenders post videos in Kia and Hyundai cars they stole using only a USB cable.

Although Kia and Hyundai were aware of the public safety concerns arising from the huge spike in theft of their vehicles, they have not taken meaningful steps to address this problem. As a result, the public is put at risk, and the Cleveland Police Department is saddled with the burdens of responding to the rampant theft of these vehicles and the consequent harms to people and property.

"The increase in theft is nationwide, not just here in Cleveland. It is certainly causing a draw on our resources," said Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Harold Pretel.

Additionally, the City of Cleveland has expended substantial resources investigating, responding to, and prosecuting crimes related to these thefts. In January 2023, theft of Hyundai and Kia vehicles rose 622.22 percent compared to thefts of those same vehicles in January 2022.

With the assistance of the Seattle law firm Keller Rohrback L.L.P., the City is taking action to force Hyundai and Kia to do what's right—fix the cars and put an end to the crime wave that could have been prevented had they simply followed industry-wide standards and installed the anti-theft technology in the first place.

"I believe in standing up for working people," said Ward 13 Councilman Kris Harsh. "I appreciate the leadership of the mayor and law director on this lawsuit. My hope is that we can get relief for the owners of these vehicles and for our city."

The City of Cleveland stands with consumers and other municipalities to hold Kia and Hyundai accountable for the public safety hazard they created, decrease vehicle theft in Cleveland, and alleviate the rising costs and burdens on the city and its taxpayers. and, the most read Black digital newspaper and blog in Ohio and in the Midwest Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 March 2023 15:51

Cleveland women, activists to march on March 8, 2023 for International Women's Day March Cleveland, a 5 pm Cleveland City Hall steps rally and 6 pm march....By

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Staff article

CLEVELAND, Ohio- Nearly 400 people participated in a rally and march in downtown Cleveland, Ohio at the Free Stamp next to Cleveland City Hall on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 (pictured) for the first time to celebrate International Women's Day and this year marks Cleveland's seventh annual march. It will be held Wednesday, March 8, 2023 beginning with a 5 pm rally on the steps of Cleveland City Hall and will be followed by a 6 pm march, organizers said. The international theme for International Women's Day is #Embrace Equity.

Windsong Cleveland feminist choir will perform at the event.

International Women's Day is a global day of celebration on March 8 as a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive and voting rights, and violence and abuse against women. Speakers for the March 8 event in Cleveland include Cleveland Councilpersons Joe Jones and Stephanie Howse, Cleveland Housing Court Magistrate Jeff Johnson, CAIR Cleveland Executive Director Sr. Faten Odeh, Elaine Gohlstin of the Black Women's PAC of Ohio, and community activists Cheryl Lessin, Genevieve Mitchell, Maosha Maybach, Mattie Hayes, Latorya Witcher, Don Bryant, and Alfred Porter Jr.

"We invite everybody to join us as we continue our fight for reproductive and Civil Rights for women and against violence against women," said International Women's Day March Cleveland head organizer Kathy Coleman, who also leads the grassroots groups Imperial Women Coalition and Women's March Cleveland. She said that two young women who led Women's March Cleveland's Jan 21, 2023 anniversary march will lead the International Women's Day march on March 8 and that they will also help MC at the rally, before the march.

Coleman has been the lead organizer of every International Women's Day march in Cleveland since the first one in 2017 that drew roughly 400 people. She said that a nice crowd is expected this year even in cold weather, and given that women's reproductive and Civil Rights are severely under attack and violence against women and girls is escalating nationwide and internationally. And Black women, she said, are getting raped and murdered at a disproportionate rate, data show.

Other activists groups supporting the event include the Black Women's PAC of Ohio, Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus, Greater Cleveland Immigrant Support network, Peace Action, Black on Black Crime Inc, Peace in the Hood, League of Voters East Cleveland Chapter, protect choice Ohio, Stand Up 4 Abortion Rights, CAIR-Cleveland and the Black Women's Army. and the most read Black digital newspaper and blog in Ohio and in the Midwest Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.

Last Updated on Friday, 10 March 2023 02:25

Biden joins Al Sharpton, others to march in Selma, marking 58 years since 'Bloody Sunday,' which led to the Voting Rights Act of, Ohio' Black digital news leader

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SELMA, Alabama-President Joe Biden marched with Civil Right leaders and activists across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday, March 5, 2023 to commemorate the 58th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," the Sunday 58 years ago where activists were beaten and brutalized by police for marching across the bridge from Montgomery, Alabama to Selma, Alabama to demand passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Flanked by Civil Rights leaders the Revs Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, seasoned Congressman James Clyburn and other prominent people, Biden said that "the right to vote and to have your vote count is the threshold of democracy and liberty. "

The president also called for more voting rights protections.

Former president Barack Obama gave a historic speech before thousands at the same venue in 2015 when he was president to mark the 50th anniversary of the bridge crossing, a celebratory event that also drew select dignitaries and several members of Congress, including the late John Lewis. Then a young Civil rights activists, Lewis marched across the bridge with protesters 58-years-ago for the Civil Rights march for which "Bloody Sunday" draws its name.

Selma, said Obama when he spoke at the bottom of the bridge in 2015, "was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations, and those that crossed the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge years ago "gave courage to millions."

"Because of what they did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for African-Americans, but for every American," said Obama, the nation's first Black president who won election in 2008 and reelection in 2012 for another four-year term.

The attack by police on marchers in Selma 58 years ago on March 7, 1965 was a prelude to two other marches within a five day period, both of them led by the late Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the last one of which thousands crossed the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge untouched. Months later, in August of 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which is under attack today by Republican led state legislatures across the country that are adopting laws to suppress the Black vote And this is no doubt coupled with  U.S. Supreme Court decisions striking down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

The Supreme Court, in 2013, struck down the provision of the Voting Rights Act that required Southern states to get federal court approval to adopt or substantively amend state voting rights laws. and, the most readBlack digital newspaper and blog in Ohio and in the Midwest Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 March 2023 03:54

Following Trump's visit and criticism from Ohio's governor, President Biden says he will visit East Palestine, Ohio at the site of the train derailment that caused a toxic explosion.....By, Ohio's Black digital news leader

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Staff article

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio-Following public criticism from Ohio's governor and visits by former president Donald Trump and environmental activist Erin Brockovich to the East Palenstine, Ohio town where on Feb 3 a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals derailed, President Joe Biden said earlier this week that he too will visit the small village of some 4,700 working class residents in Northeast Ohio.

At issue is a train derailment that caused a toxic explosion and associated environmental problems that have upset residents and that has generated international news.

“I’ve spoken with every official in Ohio, Democrat and Republican, on a continuous basis, as in Pennsylvania,” Biden told reporters after a Democratic luncheon on Capital Hill on Thursday. “I laid out a little bit in there what I think the answers are, and we put it together. And we will be implementing an awful lot to the legislation here.”

“And I will be out there at some point,” the president added.

But the president did not give a date of his upcoming visit to Ohio, once a pivotal state for presidential elections that is gradually turning red as Trump, a Republican, won Ohio over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016 when he won the presidency and again in 2020 when he lost reelection to Biden. Republicans hold every statewide office in Ohio, including the offices of governor, secretary of state and state attorney general, all but three seats occupied by Democrats on the largely Republican majority female Ohio Supreme Court.

Biden's upcoming visit comes behind mounting criticism and what critics say is a less than aggressive approach to the environmental catastrophe. The president is also taking heat from Ohio Gov Mike DeWine, who has publicly said that the president should visit East Palestine.

Trump visited the train derailment site a week ago and was joined by  East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway, J.D. Vance, who is a U.S. senator from Ohio who won a hard fought campaign for his seat last November with the former president's support, Ohio state Sen. Michael Rulli and state Rep. Monica Robb Blasdel.

Speaking to a small group of local leaders, first responders and the media at the local fire station the former president and 2024 presidential contender told the residents that they were not forgotten and that he supports them.

“We’re in East Palestine to show our love for our fellow Americans," he said.

He also took aim at President Biden for what he called an inept federal response to the disaster that has residents up in arms via fears of air intoxication that have caused evacuations.

"They were doing nothing for you," said Trump to local residents in referencing the Biden administration. "When they announced I was coming they changed their tune."

EPA officials say that there is no public risk behind the East Palestine derailment and that rail transporation remains the most effective means to transport hazardous chemicals, though both Sen. Vance, and U.S. Sen Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, have introduced bipartisan congresional legislation in response to the issue. and the most read Black digital newspaper and blog in Ohio and in the Midwest Tel: (216) 659-0473. Email: We interviewed former president Barack Obama one-on-one when he was campaigning for president. As to the Obama interview, CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM, OHIO'S LEADER IN BLACK DIGITAL NEWS.

Last Updated on Monday, 06 March 2023 14:31

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