Morning News and Stuff

Lawmaker wants expanded death penalty, CPS getting 10-year plan, local library stays busy

State Rep. John Becker
State Rep. John Becker

State Rep. John Becker, a Cincinnati Republican, is

pushing to expand the death penalty

to include some sex-related crimes. His proposal, made Friday, would allow the state to consider execution in cases of rape, sexual battery and improper sexual contact if the suspect has a previous sex crime conviction and there are aggravating circumstances. Becker says he was inspired to propose the death penalty expansion after hearing about three Cleveland women who were kidnapped, held and raped for years by Ariel Castro before they escaped in May. But Castro, who was convicted earlier this month, wouldn’t have been eligible for the death penalty under Becker’s plan because he didn’t have a previous sex crime conviction.

Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) officials are

developing a 10-year plan for the school district

, following in the footsteps of the Columbus and Cleveland systems and their unique plans. The school district is asking for more community support and $29 million from the state to, among other plans, boost its community learning center initiative, a

nationally recognized program

that turns schools into community hubs with extra services such as dental care and college preparation; expand early education, which is often heralded as one of the best

economic investments

; and provide more options through charter schools, which have generally performed worse than public schools but

provide more choices for students

. Unlike the other big city systems, CPS has posted decent academic ratings in the past few years, so the changes might not be as drastic or require legislative involvement.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County was

found to be the busiest central library in the country for the second year in a row

by a report from the Public Library Association. Overall, the report found the Cincinnati system is the seventh busiest public library system in the country and second busiest in Ohio right after Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland.

The Over-the-Rhine Foundation will

use an $8,000 grant

from the Ohio Development Services Agency and Ohio Historic Preservation Office to help revitalize approximately 13 buildings in the neighborhood. The grant will allow the Over-the-Rhine Foundation to research and apply for federal designation on the National Register of Historic Places, which would unlock more tax credits for the buildings and area. The rest of the money for the project will come from private funds. “Exciting things are happening in Over-the-Rhine,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, in a statement. “Helping the neighborhood receive this historic designation will allow the continued revitalization of this growing community.”

With a state ban lifted, Ohio is

getting more online schools

for the first time in eight years. Three e-schools were approved to open this fall, and five more could be approved this year. The moratorium on new e-schools was held until the state approved e-school standards, which were drafted by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, an association funded in part by e-schools, and include no mention of proper budgeting or attendance tracking. A CityBeat look at e-schools last year

found e-schools generally perform much worse but get more state funding than traditional public schools

.

Five Miami University students

helped install

a wheelchair-accessible swing in Hanover Township.

Ohio gas prices are

rising

but still below the national average.

Ohio is among 24 states asking the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drone manufacturers to test unmanned flying vehicles within state borders

.

The Western & Southern Open

had record attendance this year

, with nearly 200,000 people turning up.

A 12-year-old electronics prodigy and teacher is

working on a plan

to revamp the U.S. education system to make it more fun.
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