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Senate Lays Out Timeline for State Operating Budget

The Ohio Senate has laid out a timeline for action on the next state operating budget that will leave less than two weeks to work out differences with the House. Senate Finance Chairman Scott Oelslager set next Wednesday as the deadline for proposed amendments to the $71.5 billion, two-year spending blueprint. The North Canton Republican said he expects a revised bill to hit his committee June 8, with a Senate floor vote likely on June 17 or June 18. That leaves an unusually short window for a joint conference committee of the House and Senate to strike a compromise. Gov. John Kasich would need to sign the bill by June 30.  The House has stripped many provisions from Kasich's budget bill — including much of his income-tax cut and his school-funding formula — that the Senate is likely to fully or partially restore. According to legislative records, no budget since 2001 has cleared the Senate later than June 13.

Massillon Police Officer is Given a "Last Chance"

A Massillon police Sgt. has been fired and this week an officer will learn his fate. Captain Bill Peel says back in January Sgt. Kenneth Smith and officer Fredrick Alexander were in a fight at the department and Alexander had to receive medical treatment to his hand. Earlier this month a "last chance agreement" was presented to Smith, who declined the proposal and was fired from the department. An agreement has been presented to Alexander this week and according to Peel, he is expected to sign that agreement. An official agreement will be announced once all required partie have signed it, which should happen by the end of the day Thursday. 
 

Road Project Planned for Plain TWP and Canton

Another Stark County road project is in the planning stages.  The Ohio Department of Transportation is proposing a $7 million project that is expected to begin in June of 2018.  Officials say the project will include a number of changes including intersection improvements and realignments along US Route 62 in Plain TWP and the city of Canton. It consists of constructing separate signalized intersections at US Route 62 and Harrisburg Road NE and US Route 62 and Middlebranch Road NE. Crews would also widen 62 between the two reconstructed intersections to create side-by-side left turn lanes and would focus on the reconstruction and realignment of the 30th Street NE at Harrisburg Road NE to create a new round-about intersection. A public meeting will be held later this year to talk more about the project. 
 

Last Charged in Local Drug Ring Enters a Plea

 

The last to be charged in a major drug ring locally is pleading guilty. 23 year old Tyler Murray entered the plea this week to several charges of conspiracy to heroin trafficking and other counts. Around 15  people were charged last year in connection with a heroin and cocaine ring busted here in Stark County in a 126 count indictment. The ring had ties to both Detroit and New York City according to detectives. Murray will be sentenced June 16th. 37 year old Daemon Ford of Paris Township was the leader of the ring and was sentenced in April to eight years in prison for a number of charges including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Stark Unemployment Rate is Even Lower

 

More people are finding jobs here in Stark County. The local jobless rate dropped to 4.9 percent in April, down from 5.7 percent in March and 5.2 percent in April of last year. Canton also saw a decrease in the number of people looking for work with a 5.8 percent unemployment rate in April, down from 6.6 percent in March and 6.3 percent in April of 2014. Ohio's non-seasonally adjusted rate was 4.6 percent and the national rate was 5.1 percent. Holmes county recorded the lowest jobless rate at 3.1 percent, down from 3.8 percent in March and 3.5 percent last year. Mahoning County posted the highest unemployment rate at 5.6 percent, down from 6.6 percent in March and 6.1 percent this time last year. 

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